Thursday, August 19

Debate on Afghan Transit Trade avoided at Assembly

On the last day of the 19th session on Friday, the Punjab Assembly could not discuss the Afghan Transit Trade route primarily because the Speaker did not let the members do so despite latter’s pleadings.
Secondly, Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan did not come to the House due to which even the government business could not be carried out. Seeing this, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal let everybody speak on Point of Order till the House had exhausted its stipulated time till 12:30pm. Resultantly, the commitment made by the Law Minister for debating the trade route could not be done as well.
While referring to his Adjournment Motion, Opposition’s Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari made numerous futile pleadings to urge the Speaker for allowing debate on the Afghan Transit Trade route as per the commitment of Rana Sana that the debate would be held on Friday. MPAs Tahir Ali Javed, Mian Muhammad Rafique and Amna Ulfat also endorsed Leghari, who even went to the extent of requesting the Speaker to continue the day’s proceedings after the Friday prayers, but the Chair did not consider it. “You come to me later, and we will both debate over it,” said the Speaker to quieten Leghari.
Emotionally charged PML-Q’s defector Sheikh Ala-ud-Din also asked the Speaker to initiate debate. “I can say on oath that the agreement has been signed. We cannot give concessions to India, which has brought Pakistan to this stage,” he added.
However, when Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira rebutted Leghari by saying that his Adjournment Motion was to be considered next week, quite a few members rejected Minister’s assertion, which left him stranded sans any support. Nonetheless, he apprised the House that the federal government had not signed any such agreement yet, but only inked a 'record note'. He also mentioned that proceedings of the meeting were confidential and could not be made public.
Later, Leader of the Opposition Ch Zaheer-ud-Din demanded of the government for raising salaries of 1122 Emergency Service staff, and traffic wardens. He criticised the provincial government for indulging in discrimination against two important departments of the public service. “The present government must not pin-down Rescue-1122 and traffic wardens because these were established by Ch Pervaiz Elahi (former Chief Minister Punjab),” he said adding that the Transparency International had also declared the new traffic police free of corruption. “But unfortunately, they are being neglected in salaries’ increase. When the pays of the police were raised, traffic wardens were neglected on the pretext they were not part of the Punjab establishment,” he observed.
While responding to this, Tanvir Ashraf Kaira told the House that the government was already considering the matter of immense importance, and assured his colleagues that the House would be informed soon about any policy decision.
Later, on a Point Of Order, Major (r) Abdur Rehman Rana observed that the future of Pakistani engineering and medicine students – who had recently come back from Kyrgyzstan following riots there – was uncertain because they had not been able to complete their studies, while their parents had already spent huge amounts of money. “About 250 students belonged to Punjab and some of them had to appear for examinations of first and final year. Now the government must make arrangements for their examinations after contacting the Kyrgyzstan embassy,” he demanded.
The Speaker admitted that it was a genuine grievance and directed the Education Department to address the issue. However, Minister for Special Education Malik Muhammad Iqbal Channer failed to satisfy the ex-armyman, and the rest of the House since whatever he mumbled, remained unto him.
At this point, Sheikh Alauddin tried to score point when he asserted that he had already raised the issue on the floor regarding the study programmes being offered by Chinese and Kyrgyz institutions, and one could see advertisement banner for admission on different roads of the city.

No comments: