LAHORE - The issue of razing wall of the Punjab Governor House echoed in Punjab Assembly on Monday as the Opposition termed it an unwise decision.

Speaking on a point of order, Mian Naseer of the PML-N said that Governor House was a cultural asset which must be protected. He also talked about the financial cost involved in razing of the wall and then fixing of the iron fence in its place. He predicted that Punjab government will have to re-build the wall sooner or later.

Hina Pervaiz Butt of the PML-N said that making any change in the architectural design of the Governor House was in violation of the Old Buildings Act, 1975. She asked which provincial department was paying the cost of demolishing the wall and fencing of the building.

No minister from the government side responded to the concerns raised by the opposition members as the Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mohammad Mazari quickly moved on to next item on the agenda of Assembly business.

During the question hour, Azma Zahid Bokhari of the PML-N questioned the role of Punjab Governor Ch Mohammad Sarwar in installation of filtration plants in the province. She pleaded that under the Constitution, Punjab governor had no direct role in the administrative matters of the province.

Punjab Minister for Housing and Urban Development Mian Mehmoodur Rashid admitted that Punjab governor was leading the initiative for installation of filtration plants in collaboration with some NGOs. The minister, however, justified governor’s role taking the plea that he was doing this all this for welfare of the public. The previous governors, he said, were just the figureheads as they would not do anything worthwhile. “We, on the other hand, have a governor who is actively engaged in welfare activities”, Rashid observed. 

Speaking on points of order, Ghayasuddin and Munawar Ghous of the PML-N told the Chair that PML-N MPAs were facing discrimination at the hands of government officials.

Ghayasuddin said that he was not allowed to enter 8-Club Road secretariat of the chief minister. He said he was told by the security staff at the entrance point that PML-N MPAs could not enter the chief minister’s office.

Munawar Ghous said that Punjab government was not giving accommodation to the PML-N lawmakers in its houses situated at Karachi, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Murree.

Provincial Minister Mehmoodur Rashid responded by saying that he had also to face a similar situation when he was in the Opposition. He, however, assured that he would look into matter and ensure that opposition members get accommodation in official residences.

The minister also told the House that Punjab government was in the process of conducting audit of the accounts of government residences to identify the defaulters who had not yet paid their bills after their stay. He said Asif Kirmani of the PML-N was a defaulter of Rs 6.5 million in respect of the Punjab House while Parvaiz Rashid did not make any payment at all. 

Parliamentary leader of the PPP in Punjab Assembly, Syed Hasan Murtaza raised the issue of inordinate delay in start of sugar cane crushing by the sugar mills. He said the crushing season starts by November 10 every year, but this time around there were no signs of its being started even by 15th of December this year. Ahmad Khan Bachhar of the PTI also supported the PPP legislator.

Deputy Speaker said it was a serious matter to be addressed immediately. He fixed Wednesday for general debate in the House on this issue.

Discussion on annual report of Punjab Commission on the Status of Women could not take place in the House due to lack of quorum.