In the absence of the Chief Whip at the Punjab Assembly, Leader of the House (Chief Minister Punjab) Shahbaz Sharif on Wednesday stayed on the floor for about three hours apparently for keeping the meeting quorate while the Assembly was passing the Punjab Healthcare Bill 2009.
Though the Treasury voted out all the amendments proposed by the Opposition, the latter, especially its members Dr Samia Amjad and Muhammad Mohsin Khan Leghari, fought tooth and nail to get their proposals registered. At one point, in the continuous absence of the Opposition Leader, it seemed that the Opposition comprised only the Doctor and Leghari. Not only pointed out quorum in the presence of the CM, they made it certain to keep the Treasury on toes, which seemed to be having just Minister Law Rana Sanaullah Khan on board regarding the Bill – mostly replying to amendments with tongue-in-cheek comments, especially about Q-League’s past allegiance to Pervez Musharraf – while the rest were present only to say ‘Noes’ to amendments and ‘Ayes’ to clauses. How well prepared the Treasury members were and level of their interest in the Bill, could be gauged from the fact that Rana Sana on every voting has to raise his right hand to suggest them what to utter. It was done when the Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal and Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan – certainly knowing what was expected of the Treasury to do whether to say loud ‘Noes’ or ‘Ayes’ – Rana Sana used to raise his hand. Mohsin Leghari objected to it when he suspected the Speaker of saying suggestive with-raised-voice ‘Noes’ or ‘Ayes’ to the Treasury. However, it continued till the Bill was passed and the House was adjourned till Friday (today) 9am. Opposition’s Mohsin Leghari observed that instead of passing the Bill in hurriedly manner, more time should be spent on it ‘to discuss and dilate more’, but it proved to be futile.
Seeing impending defeat on every amendment, Dr Samia and Leghari even went to the extent of pleading – using words like ‘please’ ‘request’ – but it did not deter the Treasury from adopting its course of bulldozing the Opposition having just a little numerical presence, but pragmatically argumenting and certainly well-prepared for the job.
The Bill mainly deals with the Healthcare Commission and Governance of the Healthcare establishments, services and its providers. It has come into force immediately, and demands that all the concerned should be registered with the government, who will be issued licences to carry on practice.