Supplementary budget approved amid uproar in PA

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Tuesday approved the supplementary budget amid uproar over the charges of rigging in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) elections.The opposition members submitted only three cut motions against excessive expenditures of the Punjab government during fiscal year 2010-11.Opposition legislators Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, Sardar Mohsin Leghari, Semal Kamran, Amir Sultan Cheema, Rai Shahjahan Kharal and Syed Hassan Murtaza criticised the government for spending hefty amounts without approval from the Punjab Assembly.Chaudhry Zaheer said that it was implausible to spend a large sum of money on police when law and order in the province was at the lowest ebb.He said that crime rate was increasing with every day passing, but the government was disbursing millions of rupees among incompetent security personnel. He said that the police officials who scarified their lives in the line of duty were appreciable but there was also a dire need to purge police department of corrupt elements.Responding to the objections raised by the opposition lawmakers, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said that 98 percent incidents of kidnapping for ransom related to terrorism. He said that criminals had been operating in the Tribal Areas under the guise of ‘jihad’.

Sanaullah held the military dictators responsible for the growth of terrorism, saying that they must be brought to justice. The law minister further said that directions had been issued to release the floods inquiry report and the Punjab Information Department would upload the report on the official website of the Punjab government.Earlier, the House once again turned into a fish market when opposition leader Raja Riaz said that public at large rejected the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) in AJK elections.He said that this was a trailer and the complete movie would be shown in the next general elections.Raja Riaz said that the PML-N government had failed to deliver in Punjab and soon its so-called popularity graph would decline further.“Time is not off when the PML-N will be out of power from Punjab,” he said. He regretted that “unscrupulous elements” were hell bent to “finish” the Punjab Assembly but the opposition would foil any such move with the support of masses.

He said that the PPP had emerged as a single majority party in the AJK and hoped it would form government without any support. However, he said other political parties would also be invited to join the government as coalition partners. He said the popularity graph of Asif Ali Zardari had gone up and it could be gauged from the results of the AJK elections.Raja said that it was the failure of Punjab government that it could not control situation at seven polling stations during AJK polls.Punjab Food Minister Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor alleged that the PPP cast 7,000 fake votes in single constituency. Rana Arshad said that it was the biased policies of the PPP that forced a coalition partner to leave the federal government.During the whole course of rumpus, speaker tried to control the situation but the lawmakers from both sides remained busy in hurling accusations against each other.

During the session, the Punjab Assembly also approved leaves of 25 members who could not attend the session owing to different reasons. Among those were legislators who had changed their loyalties and did not attend the assembly for the last several months.Among these applicants, Moonis Elahi’s case was not presented in the House as he was under the custody of the Federal Investigation Agency in the National Insurance Company Limited case.After the approval of the supplementary budget, the chair prorogued the session for an indefinite period. – Dailytimes