LAHORE - Opposition in the Punjab Assembly here yesterday called for shunning the use of negative remarks against the armed forces as these were not justifiable given the situation in which officers and jawans were laying down their lives to defend the dear motherland and restore peace in the country.

The House started proceedings on the first day of the 33rd session quarter past three hours late of the fixed time of 2pm. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, at the beginning, offered Fateha for Major Ishaq Shaheed and others and those Kashmiri martyrs who were becoming victim of the atrocities of Indian troops in the Held Kashmir. The session ended due to lack of quorum leaving half of the agenda unattended.

Taking the floor after Fateha, leader of the Opposition Mian Mahmudur Rashid said Major Ishaq and other soldiers of the Pakistan Army were writing unprecedented tales of bravery and courage in defence of the motherland and for peace. He said soldiers in a large number had laid down their lives for the sake of Pakistan but certain elements were directly and indirectly trying to undermine the institution and to lower morale of the brave armymen. This practice should be stopped, Mahmudur Rashid appealed to such elements. He said it was not other than Pak Army that protected the country against the internal and external threats as such no word should be said which could tarnish the image of the armed forces and cause any damage to it.

The treasury member Rana Muhammad Arshad also highly praised the sacrifices of the Pak soldiers.

“Either it is Major Ishaq or Capt Husnain, Major Junaid or any other brave soldier, we all are highly proud of them,” he added. Rana Arshad said the whole nation stood by Pak Army in its successful efforts towards ending terrorism in the country and making it a peaceful place.

Dr Farzana of treasury also spoke in praise of the martyred armymen while condemning the killing of innocent Kashmiris by Indian armed forces in Held Kashmir. Another member greeted the month of Rabiul Awal that has relation to the birthday of the Holy Prophet (SAW) and wanted the chair to devote a day of the session to the celebration of birthday of the Holy Prophet (SAW).

Later, the House took up questions on labour and human resources and finance departments which were answered by Mian Naveed and Rana Babar, the parliamentary secretary of the respective departments.

Answering a question about Labour Colony in tehsil Texila, Mian Naveed said PC-1 for the Colony was prepared in 2014 but its execution had hit snags at the level of departments which were taking time to issue NoC. He assured the House to start work on this project as soon as the needful is done. The questioner Haji Umar Farooq appeared not satisfied with the answer as such it was pended for taking up next time.

The chair consigned to the finance committee a question pertaining to salary and other perks of Bank of Punjab president. Rana Babar told the House that salary of the BoP President Naeemud Din was Rs5.6 million per month which was lower than those in his rank in the private banks who were getting salary in crores. The questioner, PPP’s Faiza Malik, challenged the answer saying that nowhere in any other department in the public sector, such a hefty salary was being paid to an employee and the BoP president had been specially favoured by the chief minister as he had done with many others in the government departments. The parliamentary secretary tried to satisfy the questioner saying, the bank profit of Rs5.5 billion in a year was largely due to the performance of the Bank president but she continued to quest for the fact. On it, the chair entrusted the matter to the PA committee for report within two months. The chair pended another question on the allotment of houses in Labour Colony, Sahiwal, for which the Workers Welfare Board had written to the federal government after objections from Federal Labour Welfare Department and the Finance Department that the house could only be rented out under the law. The answer was still awaited despite lapse of considerable time.

The session will resume proceedings at 9am on Friday.