LAHORE - Opposition staged a walkout in protest against not allowing presentation of a resolution regarding meager decrease in the prices of petroleum at the Punjab Assembly yesterday.

Before the start of proceedings on government business, Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed drew the attention of the House towards Rs5 cut in petrol prices, saying the prices have decreased considerably in the international market but the government was not passing on the relief to the masses.

He said that the prices should have been decreased at least by Rs40 to Rs45 per litre. He suggested the chair to suspend rules for presentation of the resolution of public interest.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan opposed suspension of rules and asked the opposition leader to share draft of the resolution with the treasury before presentation in the House.

On the insistence of the opposition leader, Law Minister said that the opposition was bent upon doing politics of protest instead of discussing issues on the Assembly floor in democratic way.

During the speech of Law Minister, opposition led by Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed staged a walkout from the House.

“They will talk to the media on stairs, chant slogans and go to homes. This is not politics of principles”, law minister said. He suggested the chair to send a committee of parliamentarians for convincing the opposition to come back and become a part of proceedings. The opposition returned to the House during proceedings on government business.

The law minister laid 13 ordinances and introduced one bill during the proceedings. The House also passed two acts, rejecting all cut motions of opposition legislators.

The chair sent all the Ordinances to the relevant Standing Committees with the direction to submit reports within two months. This was not the case with the Bill relating to increase in salaries and perks and privileges of legislators.

The chair directed the Standing Committee on Law to submit report on The Punjab Public Representatives’ Laws (Amendment) Bill 2016 within one week.

Rana Sanaullah said that the proposed increase in the salaries and perks and privileges of legislators in Punjab was not that high as in the other provinces and National Assembly.

He said that now the salaries of legislators in Punjab would be close to those in other provinces but not high or equal. He said that no increase has been made in the salaries of Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries and Advisors.

The Chair forwarded The Provincial Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, The Fort Monroe Development authority Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Forensic Science Agency (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Education Foundation (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Vigilance Committees Ordinance 2016, The Fatima Jinnah Medical University Lahore (Amendment Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Procurement Regulatory Authority (Amendment) Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 and The Punjab Prohibition of Child Labour at Bricks Kilns Ordinance 2016 to the relevant Standing Committees with the direction to submit reports within two months.

The other Ordinances sent to committees include The Punjab Marriage Functions Ordinance 2015, The Punjab Local Government (Second Amendment) Ordinance 2016, The Punjab Economic Research Institute (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 and The Punjab Forest (Amendment) Ordinance 2016.

The House passed The Punjab Safe Cities Authority Bill 2015 and The Punjab Special Protection Unit Bill 2015 with majority vote, rejecting all cut motions of opposition legislators.

Earlier, during Question Hour on Higher Education Department, the treasury admitted that qualified persons were not available for filling vacant posts of lecturers in various subjects.

To a supplementary question, Parliamentary secretary Mehwish Sultana said that 36,000 out of 45,000 vacant posts of lecturers have been filled through PPSC. She said that the PPSC has conveyed that qualified people were not available for vacant posts. She, however, insisted that the process of recruitment against vacant seats would be completed soon.

Sardar Shahab-ud-Din said that every department was ignoring South Punjab. He said that the PPSC too was favoring people from Lahore.