LAHORE - Punjab Assembly passed Temporary Residents Information Bill on Wednesday amid opposition’s walkout for not being allowed to present amendments due to technical reasons.

During the Question Hour on Irrigation, Dr Wassem Akhtar said that the rulers initiated only those schemes that could be completed during their tenure to get political mileage. Referring to the Kalabagh Dam, he said that there was a need of taking practical steps to carry out the project of national importance at the earliest.

He also held that there was no need of foreign funding as Karachi, Lahore and Gujranwala Chambers of Commerce had already offered providing the required amount for the construction of Kalabagh Dam having capacity of storing 6.1 million acre water and generating 3600 megawatt electricity. However, he revealed that a report of a sensitive agency had pointed out funding coming from India to the opponents of Kalabagh Dam. “Those supporting the project of national importance are being given life threats,” he continued.

Admitting that the report regarding Indian funding to the people opposing construction of Kalabgh Dam was correct, Parliamentary Secretary for Irrigation Ch Khalid Mahmood said that the project was necessary for the future of Pakistan. He said that the project could be initiated only after developing consensus among all federating units. He suggested the legislator from JI to ask his party to bring a resolution in the support of Kalabagh Dam at the Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Assembly. He said that Punjab would go a step ahead in support of the project.

After completion of quorum, Law Minister Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman presented the bill that bounds owners of houses, shops and hostels to submit details of temporary residents along with agreements to the relevant police station within 15 days. Failure to submit details of temporary residents can lead to imprisonment for up to three years, Rs two lakh fine or both.

After Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani rejected proposed amendments of opposition for not submitting on time, the legislators requested the chair to use his discretion as they were not informed about agenda items. The chair, however, said that he could not allow presentation of amendments after opposition from the law minister. Protesting against the ruling, the opposition staged a walk out.

After passage of the bill, the chair formed a committee of legislators from the ruling party to convince the opposition to come back and take part in the assembly proceedings. During debate on the bill regarding security of government institutions, opposition legislator Dr Waseem Akhtar pointed out quorum. As the quorum remained incomplete after ringing of bells for five minutes, the chair adjourned the session until today (Thursday) at 10am.

Earlier, the proceedings started an hour and eight minutes behind the scheduled time with deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair.