Saturday, October 23

Amending two laws costs Rs 24m

The Punjab Assembly, which was prorogued for indefinite period here on Friday after remaining in session for 18 days, cost public exchequer Rs 24.86 million when amendments to only two laws were passed, while four important general discussions remain inconclusive, and yet another on flood tax was not initiated, like previously done regarding the law and order situation in specific reference to the Data Darbar blasts.
As per sources, each MPA is given about Rs 3000 per day besides salary, which means Rs 66000 will be paid to him for the 20th session. This way, besides other numerous expenses, in a House of 371 members, the government has spent around Rs 25m just for two amendments, in which most of the MPAs were either saying ‘Ayes’ or ‘Noes’. Except a few Opposition members, no one from the Treasury on the Floor has ever taken part in the legislation, besides raising hands or voices of dissent or consent as per indicated by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. Certainly, not all of them had a lot to say during the Question-Hours as well, which are having a tradition of wrong, misleading, delayed and ambiguous replies, baffled and clueless parliamentary secretaries in the absence of ministers and unactualised directions from the Chair for taking action against the officers and departments concerned, while the Assembly also waited for the officials to arrive in their Gallery so that the proceedings could be started. Besides this, the august House is yet to ensure officers’ presence during discussions as well.
During Question-Hours, ministers admitted that wrong answers were submitted by departments, rampant corruption, lack of infrastructure and capacity to get the laws implemented, utterly failing in satisfying legislators, and giving irrelevant details, while quite a few questioners were found absent as well.
During the 20th session, amendments to Forest and Punjab Local Government bills were passed, while as such no new legislation was brought to the Floor for getting it passed.
Four general discussions on relief and rehabilitation of flood-affectees, price-hike of commodities, water shortage, law and order remain inconclusive, and there is a possibility that these would be taken in the next session.
The House also witnessed uproar because of Senior Minister Punjab Raja Riaz Ahmed passing of unnecessary derogatory remarks against PML-Q, his speeches against a newspaper group, and media bashing by PPP MPAs demanding probe assets of journalists and groups, while Rana Sana twice telling PPP for not using PA floor for personal agenda, and seeking reply about federal government’s corruption, which gave rise to a question: For how long will they pull along?
Through a unanimous resolution, the Assembly also demanded building national consensus for constructing Kalabagh Dam. Other important resolutions were about Kashmir and Dr Aafia Siddiqui, while another condemned General (r) Pervez Musharraf for derailing democracy 12 years back though the Opposition demanded that all dictators should be condemned too.

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