End of a Bumpy Ride: PA to complete its five-year tenure


–Punjab Assembly passes 191 bills, 217 resolutions

–131 privilege motions, 2,064 adjournment motions admitted by the house

LAHORE: The august house of Punjab, which would complete its constitutional five-year term on Thursday, has witnessed several highs and lows including one of the landmark legislation that regulated the marriages of Sikh couples and hundreds of protests from the opposition benches as walkouts were staged even on the last day of the concluding session and ceremonial last group-photo of the parliamentarians was also boycotted by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led opposition.

As per the details, 191 bills were passed in 36 sessions of the Punjab Assembly during the past five years while 217 resolutions were also passed by the house that was over-dominated by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) with over 300 lawmakers on treasury benches in the house of 369.

Among the 191 bills, 189 were introduced by the government while two bills were introduced as Private Member Bills and both the private bills were introduced during the last parliamentary year. The private bills included ‘The Punjab Anand Karaj Bill’ introduced by the only Sikh MPA from Punjab, Ramesh Singh Arora, that regularised the marriages of Sikh couples while the other was “Punjab Compulsory Teaching of the Holy Quran Bill” introduced by parliamentary leader of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Syed Waseem Akhtar.

The past five years data of the Punjab Assembly further reveals 131 Privilege Motions and 2064 Adjournment Motions were also admitted in the house while 155 Call Attention Notices were also answered.

Speaking to Pakistan Today, chief whip of PML-N in the Punjab Assembly and special assistant to the Punjab chief minister, Rana Muhammad Arshad, said that the assembly carried out a record number of legislation within the past five years as over 190 bills were passed.

“No other provincial assembly of the country and the Punjab Assembly itself ever passed such a large number of legislation in the past but we have made a record under the supervision of Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who is also the leader of the house,” he added.

When asked why CM’s participation in the assembly proceedings remained extremely poor throughout five years and why he also missed the farewell group photo of the lawmakers, Arshad said that Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan had performed the duties on the behalf of CM in the house and the chief minister was scheduled to attend the farewell group photo but had to attend a meeting in the federal capital the same day, therefore couldn’t make it to the last session

“The opposition is the beauty of a democratic setup but unfortunately the opposition in the Punjab Assembly only did point scoring while ignoring the subjects of public importance for five years,” he said.

Meanwhile, leader of the opposition, Mian Mehmoodur Rashid told this scribe that the tenure of the Punjab Assembly would be remembered as the worst tenure where the leader of the house hardly ever attended the assembly proceedings only to avoid the criticism of the opposition because of the stories of massive corruption of his government.

“Despite the minimal number of opposition members, we tried to play the role of a vibrant opposition by highlighting the issues related to public importance including petroleum prices and wheat as well as sugarcane woes of the poor farmers,” he said, adding that the speaker also remained biased at most of the times in running the proceedings of the house where opposition members were not allowed to speak over the issues of public importance.

Performance of MPAs on reserved seats:

The data gathered by Pakistan Today pertaining to MPAs who were elected on reserved seats reveal that Hina Pervaiz Butt of PML-N topped the performance list of MPAs as she introduced 15 bills, 155 resolutions, 293 adjournment motions and 322 questions during her five-year stint as MPA.

Among the minority’s MPAs, Shunila Ruth of PTI stood first as she submitted 67 questions, 4 call attention notices, 4 resolutions and 59 adjournment motions while also participating in the assembly business on 34 occasions and speaking on 20 points of order.