June 15, 2022
By Ahmed Saeed and Rehan Piracha
LAHORE: The deadlock between Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and Speaker Pervaiz Elahi over the province’s budget presentation finally led to the holding of two separate sessions of the Punjab Assembly for the first time in the country.
Both opposition and treasury blocs presided over their own sessions at the Punjab Assembly and Aiwan e Iqbal. The opposition comprising members of Pakistani Tehreek-e-Insaaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Q participated in the session held at the Punjab Assembly building which had been called by Speaker Pervaiz Elahi.
Notifications to be issued by Law secretary not Assembly secretary
The governor had prorogued the 40th session of Punjab Assembly and called a new session for the presentation of the budget at Aiwan-e-Iqbal on June 15. He also issued an ordinance under which the secretary of law and parliamentary affairs would issue notifications regarding summoning and prorogation of Punjab Assembly sessions instead of the assembly’s secretary.
Treasury session at Aiwan-e-Iqbal illegal: Yasmin Rashid
Speaking to Voicepk, PTI leader Yasmin Rashid bashed the PML-N led Punjab government for holding an ‘illegal’ parallel session of the Punjab Assembly at Aiwan-e-Iqbal.
“In the last session, the speaker asked the treasury to begin presentation of the budget but they walked away,” she said. She said the session at Punjab Assembly was a continuation of the session that started two days, rejecting the session’s prorogue order issued by Governor Baligh-ur-Rehman.
In the session, chaired by Pervaiz Elahi, began at 2.45pm. The opposition members offered prayers for deceased MNA Aamir Liaquat Hussain, former FIA director Mohammad Rizwan and Maqsood Ahmad. The late FIA official had investigated money laundering charges against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and CM Hamza Shehbaz. Maqsood Ahmad also known as Maqsood ‘Chaprasi is said to be key figure in in the money laundering case against PM Shehbaz Sharif. Dr Yasmin Rashid also moved a privilege motion against provincial minister Attaullah Tarar for making an “obscene gesture” and violating the privilege of the assembly. The motion was sent to the relevant committee to decide it within two months.
PML-N leaders defend ordinance
MPA Tariq Sidhu defended PML-N’s parallel session at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. He claimed that a minority of MPAs have illegally occupied the assembly building, leaving the majority no choice but to hold the session at a separate venue.
Responding to PTI leader Fawad Chaudhary’s accusations that the subordination of the assembly staff to the executive government was tantamount to martial law, PML-N MPA Malik Ahmed Khan said the ordinance was meant was to uphold the law and not to trigger a constitutional crisis in the province.
5 new Violence Against Women Centers (VAWCs)
Malik Ahmed Khan said the Punjab government will be introducing a number of initiatives for marginalised communities, especially for women in the upcoming budget. He announced that the funds would be allocated to establish five more Violence Against Women Centers (VAWCs) in separate districts. He also promised to give grants to the previously established Multan VAWC to make it fully operational.
Scooties for female teachers
The PML-N leader also revealed that a budget allocation has been proposed to give free-of-cost scooties to female teachers so that they could commute easily. He also said funds would be increased for special children’s education in the province.
PML-N MPA Rana Mashhood said his party would introduce the recent ordinance as an act of law in the provincial assembly soon.
“The PML-Q and PTI opposition members were delaying the provincial budget as well as holding back pro-women and progressive policies,” MPA Rana Mashhood told Voicepk.
Punjab Home Minister Attaullah Tarar also defended the promulgation of an ordinance to curtail the speaker’s power. “The assembly’s secretary was given unlimited powers in the previous PTI coalition government,” he said.