Opposition takes Sanaullah down memory lane

LAHORE: For the second consecutive day in the provincial assembly, non-provision of funds to female legislators remained the hot topic, while opposition members reminded Law Minister Rana Sanaullah of his history in a harsh manner, especially his allegations against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief Nawaz Sharif.During Thursday’s session, the Punjab Assembly echoed with slogans of chor machaye shor. The speaker expunged some harsh words from the proceedings, which were echoed in the House during a loud hue and cry from both treasury and opposition members.The House proceedings were progressing in a smooth way on Thursday, but the situation turned volatile when Sanaullah, while responding to an adjournment motion moved by opposition member Amer Sultan Cheema, informed the House that no serious misappropriation or embezzlement was found in the Green Tractor Scheme.

On this, opposition member Samina Khawar Hayat said that if the Green Tractor Scheme was transparent, why was one of the tractors given in the name of the wife and son of former Punjab chief secretary Javed Mahmood.Sanaullah, responding to the supplementary question, said the tractor was given on merit. He explained that the wife and son of the former Punjab chief secretary owned agriculture land and their names were also included in the list of balloting, which was done through computers. Luckily, they were declared the winners, he said, adding that the former chief secretary refused the tractor.The law minister said that the opposition should be ashamed of naming him in the House without having proper information. He also said that it seems that the opposition had stopped gathering facts before making accusations. He indirectly reminded the opposition of the days when they did not feel ashamed for supporting the Musharraf-led military regime.

Hearing the law minister’s answer, opposition leader Amer Sultan Cheema could not control himself and said that Sanaullah must remember the days when he lodged an FIR against the PML-N leadership. Opposition legislator Samina Khawar Hayat, on a point of order, said that a day earlier Sanaullah had offered breakfast to the women MPAs and she must ask him (Sanaullah) if he had ever offered the same to his own mother or sister, on which Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that ‘you must have misunderstood’. At this stage, the opposition reminded the law minister in a very harsh way that “we know everything about the law minister and his remarks for PML-N leaders that he made in the past”. The opposition members also said that they still had evidence of all the statements of Sanaullah, in which he had levelled serious allegations against PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif. The speaker asked the assembly secretary to expunge harsh words used by the opposition, on which Samina Khawar asked why Sanaullah’s words were not expunged when he offered breakfast to female legislators. She said that if the treasury wanted the House to remain in decorum, then Sanaullah must mend his ways.

She said that Sanaullah had been involved in mud slugging against Nawaz and now he was praising the same leadership. The speaker said that this attitude from both sides was not good. PML-N MPA Rana Arshad tried to speak on several occasions, but the chair did not allow him to speak. Senior parliamentarian Saeed Akbar Niwani, on a point of order, drew the attention of the House towards the presence of schoolchildren in the visitor’s gallery, who were observing the assembly proceedings. He asked what message was being given to the new generation, adding that it was also wrong to protest when the speaker had expunged the proceedings. Later, responding to an adjournment motion moved by Amer Sultan Cheema, Sanaullah informed the House that following the directions of the Punjab chief minister, a residence was provided to former Lahore High Court (LHC) chief justice Justice Khawaja Muhammad Sharif. He also informed the House that owing to serious security threats, the official residence was provided to the former LHC CJ. He also made it clear that the official residence was provided on a temporary basis and it should not be considered as permanent. Soon after this, PPP MPA Saghira Islam, on a point of order, again raised the issue of non-provision of funds for female MPAs. PPP MPA Azma Zahid Bokhari, on a point of order, fully supported her colleague and said that she had raised the same issue even in the presence of the Punjab chief minister.

The PPP leader said if PML-N leaders were not interested in providing development funds to female MPAs, then why were their own female legislators enjoying funds in the National Assembly and in the Senate. “This is the constitutional right of an MPA, but the PML-N-led Punjab government is violating this right,” she said.On this, Sanaullah said the Punjab CM had always wanted to provide development funds to female MPAs, but owing to some legal technicalities, they had yet to be ensured. He also informed the House that the recommendations of the previous committee had also not been provided to the office of the CM – Dailytimes