The Punjab Assembly on Friday was supposed to discuss imposition of the flood tax and conclude the general discussion on relief and rehabilitation of flood-affectees – continuing for the last two days – but the ‘preachers of the highest morality’ were found indulgent in bickering and frivolities by preferring to settle scores instead of doing anything tangible for the poor masses.
After much of the time was lost to fuss and usual over an-hour-delay to the start of proceedings, consequently neither the general discussion was continued nor concluded, while the subject of flood tax was not even initiated though Opposition’s Mohsin Leghari had reminded the Chair about it, which was also at the fag end of the day’s proceedings. Ultimately seeing no end to the bickering, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan warned that he would take action against members found indulgent in inappropriate behaviour and the usage of foul language.
After the Question-Hour, on a Point of Order Opposition’s Dr Samia Amjad repeated her Thursday’s speech, and mentioned that nothing was done about the contractors’ payments of Rs 131billion – yesterday she said it to be Rs 30bn – which were yet to be paid by the government. Opposition’s traditional rival, its-once-very-own but now a Detractor Shaikh Alauddin was about to respond on Treasury’s behalf when the Doctor raised serious objection to it questioning the Chair: “Who is this Lota (turncoat) trying to protect the Treasury and become mouth piece of the govt?” This was enough to annoy the Shaikh, who started shouting at the top his voice and uttered lewd expressions – cannot be written – about the Doctor, which were expunged by the Speaker. The Doctor-Detractor verbal onslaught did not stop till Speaker intervened to observe that such indecent words must not be used on the floor warning “otherwise I will have to take strict action.”
PPP’s Shaukat Mahmood Basra, while giving piece of his mind, averred that when all other sections of the society, like the militarymen, were protecting themselves, the politicians must not indulge in mudslinging on each other.
Secondly, it was again the Doctor who raised the issue of the appointment of Board of Governors in colleges and teachers’ protest. She requested Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to listen to the representatives, who was visibly less inclined to do so. At this, Minister Labour Ashraf Sohna observed that because of autonomy and institutionalising of the BoGs would push the poor to the darkness since fees would be increased beyond their reach. “The decision has been taken without taking the cabinet and committees concerned into confidence,” he maintained. Rana Sana retorted to this by asserting that Sohna had prepared a speech and he wanted to deliver it. “He is playing to the gallery,” commented Rana Sana, which left the Labour Minister protesting. He told the Speaker that he would keep on standing on the floor till his cabinet colleague would eat his words. Despite Speaker’s request, both ministers did not budge an inch from their stated positions and bartered tit-for-tat ‘childish’ statement for quite sometime till Sohna’s took his seat.
However, Minister Law’s further statement showed his ignorance about the issue when he said the govt would talk to teacher’s association, and after a consensus decision, the policy would be implemented. He did not know that these institutions had already implemented the policy. None of the MPAs questioned Rana’s ‘knowledge’.
Later, MMA’s Ali Haider Noor Khan Niazi, who demanded disqualification of MPAs seeking extension in the submission of reports, when Mohsin Leghari sought extension for submitting report of the Public Accounts Committee-I. The Chair expunged Niazi’s remarks, who was not keeping quiet despite Speaker’s repeated requests, and the latter whispered though quite audible in the press gallery, “He (Niazi) has gone nuts.”