PA rejects new provinces panel

Punjab Assembly
Punjab Assembly

LAHORE: Amid a freestyle wrestling and uproar on Wednesday, the Treasury pushed through the Punjab Assembly an out-of-turn resolution rejecting the commission on new provinces.

The third sitting of the 40th session of the provincial assembly started with a delay of around 1 hour and 18 minutes with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair.At the very beginning of the session, opposition members Shaukat Basra and Ehsanul Haq Nolathia tried to take the floor on a point of order but the speaker didn’t allow them.Nolathia told the speaker that opposition desires two names from treasury for the commission on new provinces, warning that they would not allow smooth running of the house business if did not get the nominations.

The speaker in the meanwhile started the question-hour on Communication and Works, however the opposition threatened to boycott the proceedings and started chanting slogans when provincial minister Ahmed Ali Aulakh replied to the first query.The speaker sensing the heat in the house allowed the opposition to talk over the issue of new provinces on the condition that they would not hinder the house work afterwards. Opposition members including Dr Samiya Amjad, Amna Ulfat and Shaukat Basra then delivered speeches in favour of creation of new province in southern Punjab.

Chaos again gripped the house when opposition member Syed Nazim Hussain Shah in his speech demanded the treasury name two members of Punjab for the commission.On this occasion, Shaukat Basra said that the treasury was acting against the spirit of the resolution passed on May 8 in the same house unanimously for the creation of new provinces. The speaker said that the provincial government was not against the creation of new provinces however they differed with the modus oprendi.

The opposition started chanting slogans in favour of new province and against Lahore, the power base of the ruling PML-N when the speaker tried to carry on with the agenda business. The speaker who had already directed the assembly staff to switch off the microphones of the opposition members, ordered for keeping their microphone off.The opposition members then started reaching at the speaker’s podium, but the treasury members and the security staff formed a protective circle abound the speaker’s dais.

Despite the all mayhem, the speaker continued the house business and asked the treasury to start the legislation process, while the opposition pointed out the quorum but they were not heard to.The opposition then tried to grab control of the sound system, which was broken during hand-to-hand combat between the opposition members and the assembly staff. Majida Zaidi and Sajida Mir during this scuffle reached to law minister who, instead of listening to them, treated them with harsh language.

On a signal from the food minister, treasury members Dr Ghazala Rana and Sakina Skander Shaheen along with other ruling party women members reached at the speaker’s podium to counter the opposition women members.The exchange of abusive language between the two sides then turned into a freestyle wrestling as members of treasury and opposition treated each other with fists, slaps and kicks.

The women members from treasury delivered slaps and fists to opposition members Sajida Mir and Seemal Kamran who came to rescue their colleague Majida Zaidi and during this treasury attack, Sakina Sikander’s shawl was ripped but she continued fighting.As the confrontation was still going on, the law minister tabled an out-of-turn resolution to reject the commission on new provinces. On that, the opposition again chanted ‘quorum quorum’, but the treasury went ahead and passed the resolution. The speaker then prorogued the session.

The resolution stated that the house rejects the commission for the creation of new provinces nominated by speaker National Assembly on August 16, 2012. It said the house considers the commission contrary to the spirit of the resolution passed on May 8 by the Punjab Assembly, and it was also against the solidarity of the country.

It added that the house demands the federal government withdraw this commission immediately and form a national commission, by taking onboard all the stakeholders keeping in view the constitutional requirements, which is truly backed by the leaderships of all the provinces.Meanwhile, the opposition members gathered outside the assembly to lodge protest against what they called biased attitude of the speaker. Shaukat Basra on this occasion termed the assembly proceedings, the IT University Bill and the resolution as unconstitutional. – Nation