LAHORE - At last justice was meted out to one of the most controversial provincial ministers for misbehaving with Oppositions female member, who was also handed down punishment by Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan on Wednesday. As per punishment, Ch Abdul Ghafoor will not be able to attend eight sittings of the Punjab Assembly, while Syeda Bushra Nawaz Gardezi of the Opposition was directed to keep herself absent for one day. Moreover, both have been directed to tender apology to the House on their return. Their punishment started from July 1, which was the last day of the 13th session of the Assembly when the sitting was prorogued for an indefinite period. Now, Bushra Gardezis penalty is over, while Ch Ghafoor will not be able to attend seven days of next Assembly session. This is in fact the first punishment given to Ch Ghafoor, who resumed his ministerial office after remaining 'dysfunctional when an enquiry committee found him guilty of getting unscanned luggage out of the Lahore Airport, while two FIRs were also registered against him for indulging in impersonations. The Speaker has also constituted a committee, comprising the representatives of all the parliamentary groups and headed by the Deputy Speaker, to frame a code of conduct for avoiding unpleasant situation in the future. On Wednesday, the Opposition came back to the floor after a days boycott. Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan read out a Ruling about the incident that had taken place during a sitting of the Assembly. The Ruling stated that during the sitting of the Assembly on June 29, 2009, a sad incident took place in the House when an honourable MPA namely Syeda Bushra Nawaz Gardezi displayed in the House a banner which contained derogatory remarks against the Leader of the House. The display provoked the treasury benches and they started protesting against the display of the banner, and Ch Abdul Ghafoor, Minister for Prisons rushed towards the Opposition benches to stop the display. The situation deteriorated and harsh words were exchanged between both the sides. In the meanwhile, some of the members threw the copies of agenda on one another. After a while of this hue and cry, the Opposition boycotted the proceedings of the House. I, immediately constituted a Committee comprising Deputy Speaker, Ministers and Members from the treasury to go to the Opposition and to bring them back in the House. Despite their effort, the Opposition refused to attend the proceedings. During this incident, I continuously kept on requesting both the sides to show patience and observe decorum of the House but to no avail, said the Speaker, adding that without looking to fix the responsibility for this sad incident, he was of the view members of Assembly are expected to observe a certain standard of conduct, both inside the House as well as outside it though there was no prescribed code of conduct for the members yet. Their behaviour should be such as to enhance the dignity of the House and its members in general. The conduct of the members should not be contrary to discipline, or derogatory to the dignity of the House or in any way inconsistent with the standards, which the Assembly should expect from its members, maintained the Speaker in the Ruling. The Ruling further stressed that while the House is sitting, members are expected to observe certain rules which are technically known as the rules of parliamentary etiquettes. These are based on parliamentary traditions and conventions. Rana Iqbal drew the attention of the Members to rule 202 and rule 223 of the Rules of Procedure 1997, which contain provisions about the conduct of the members while present in the House, for example, a member shall not make a charge against a member, a Minister or the holder of a public office, except in so far as it may be relevant in regard to the matter before the Assembly and shall not use his right of speech for the purpose of wilfully and persistently obstructing the business of the Assembly; utter treasonable, seditious or defamatory words or make use of offensive or un-parliamentary expression. Let me explain that 'un-parliamentary expression means any expression which imputes false motives to a member or charges him with falsehood or is couched in abusive or indecent or undignified language, said the Ruling. It is pertinent to mention here that even for the admissibility of the parliamentary tools such as questions, adjournment motions, resolutions, etc, it is pre-requisite that they should not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations, epithets or defamatory statements. In the instant incident, I am of the view, that both the parties had to show patience and tolerance which is the basis of democratic norms. Having said that, to uphold the dignity of the august House, I am duty bound to take some remedial action, opined the speaker. While exercising powers conferred on the Speaker Assembly, under rule 210 of the Rules of Procedure, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, 1997 and all other provisions, Rana Iqbal directed Bushra Gardezi to keep herself absent for one day (July 1) and Ch Abdul Ghafoor for eight days from the sitting of the Assembly. Both will also tender apology to the House. Leader of the Opposition Ch Zaheer-ud-Din appreciated the Speaker for taking the decision. Later, on their points of order, the unification blocs MPAs Ejaz Shafi and Atta Maneka criticised the federal government for raising prices of petroleum products and termed this price hike as unjustified. However, the Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah Khan assured the House that he would take up the matter with Senior Minister Raja Riaz Ahmed to request the federal government to review its decision about the POL prices.