LAHORE - The Opposition in the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday boycotted the session after it was denied permission for tabling a resolution against Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif seeking his resignation from the office over the Model Town killings of the Minhajul Quran workers.
Leader of the Opposition Mian Mahmudur Rashid on a point of order wanted the resolution against the chief minister to be put to vote out of turn but Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani did not allow him. The Opposition leader also pointed out that the chief minister had removed his principal secretary Dr Tauqeer Shah but he was still performing every function of the office which showed the CM’s order was mere a show piece.
He demanded that the House should be shown the notification of Shah’s removal. The chair asked the Opposition leader to follow the rules about tabling the resolution but he remained adamant on presenting the same out of turn as 24 hours had been elapsed since he had officially filed it. Rashid said it was surprising that so many people were killed in Model Town and the CM said he had no knowledge of the incident. “It is a height of negligence on the part of the CM,” he said. Provincial Minister Tahir Khalil Sindhu, criticising Opposition’s demand, said the matter was still before the judicial commission to fix responsibility for the killings and identify the guilty. As such the House could not discuss the issue under the rules, he said. The Opposition, after being denied permission, resorted to protest and severely criticized the chief minister and Punjab government.
The situation tempted the Treasury benches to strike back, so both sides traded barbs against each other and the House resounded with deafening noises from both sides. Finding no other way, the opposition preferred to stage a walkout from the House and boycotted the proceedings. The opposition parties did not join the House despite a team was sent by the chair to get them back.
The Opposition sat on the Assembly steps, chanted slogans and demanded resignation of the CM. Talking to media, Mian Mahmudur Rashid said killing of the Minhaj people had exposed the claims of good governance of the CM. He said it appeared a province of 100million people was leaderless to protect the masses. He said the CM was more interested in managing affairs of the Federation than attending to his responsibilities towards Punjab people. He also blamed the CM for being ambitious to become the prime minister. He called for handing over the control of Punjab province to anyone else instead of the incumbent CM.
Earlier, the House took up debate on the supplementary budget to the tune of Rs21.68billion against Rs 82billion of the preceding year. Finance Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman presented the supplementary budget. PAT MPAs Sibtain Ali Khan, Arif Abbasi, Rahilla Anwar and Saadia Suhail Rana, PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin, Dr Waseem Akhtar of JI and PML-Q’s Khalija Umar opposed the budget while Asghar Munda, Sardar Jamal Khan Leghari along with others of Treasury members supported the same.
Mopping up debate on the budget, the finance minister said that volume of current year’s supplementary budget was 74 per cent less from the preceding year and the additional amount in budget 2013-14 was spent on health sector, provision of subsidy to the masses on daily use items, and law and order. He said the far lesser amount of supplementary budget for the current financial year, spoke volumes of the good management of the government. He also denied the allegations that amount under the head of medical aid had been given to the government’s fovourites.
He clarified that the amount in question was given to the deserving people after a medical board of the relevant public hospital processed their cases on merit. Defending the budgetary allocation for police, the minister said no increase had been made in the budget for this department rather allocation was revised to Rs 70.18billion from the fixed Rs 71.31billion in the current budget. He said in the next budget Rs 11billion had been earmarked for developing roads in South Punjab, therefore, criticism on the Metro bus project on the ground of roads condition in South Punjab, was uncalled for. He said Lahore metro was transporting more than 1.5lakh people daily which was a great facility the metro was providing to the poor.