LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly witnessed chaos on Thursday after the Opposition questioned conduct of the Speaker outside the House.

Referring to the media talk of Ch Pervaiz Elahi, PML-N legislator Azma Zahid Bokhari said that impropriate words for Sharifs were not up to the prestige of custodian of the House. The chair remarks that he has much tolerated the dance led to sloganeering from the Opposition. The House presented scenes of fish market after treasury legislators resorted to retaliatory sloganeering.

The session convened on the requisition of the Opposition started one hour and five minutes beyond the scheduled time with Speaker Ch Pervaiz Elahi in the chair.

On a point of order, Azma Bokhari drew attention of the chair towards his media talk and interview to a private channel, saying his remarks did not suit to his office.

“You are Speaker of the entire House and not that of a party. You should maintain your impartiality while conducting proceedings of the House. Your statement on a TV channel last day did not suit to a Speaker. You should have kept in mind prestige of your office. Everybody was well aware about your role in the past”, said Azma Bokhari.

“I have even tolerated dance of the Opposition. The House proceedings cannot be conducted in this way”, Ch Pervaiz Elahi said. Azma Bokhari said that ‘we will not allow proceedings in this way’. The Opposition legislators started chanting slogans of Speaker Namanzoor. The treasury members responded with the slogans of chor, chor.

Opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz said that the House proceedings should be smooth and according to the agenda decided by the Business Advisory Committee. He suggested the chair that his selection of words for the Opposition was also not appropriate.

Law Minister Raja Basharat said that Speaker should be respected from across the political divide. He said that the Opposition used objectionable words for the custodian of the House. He said that the agenda was already decided by the Business Advisory Committee and the proceedings should have been according to the set plan.

Earlier, Rana Muhammad Iqbal sought permission of the chair for presenting an out of turn resolution to condole death of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz.

After getting a nod from the chair, Rana Iqbal read out the resolution that expressed sorrow and grief over the sad demise of former first lady. He counted contributions of Begum Kalsoom Nawaz for revival and strengthening of the democracy. Demanding title of mother of democracy for the deceased first lady, the resolution prayed for resting the departed soul in eternal.  The exercise was limited to reading out the resolution with no one bothering to complete the procedure for its passage. During Question Hour, Raja Basharat, Dr Yasmin Rashid and Mian Aslam Iqbal responded to the queries relating to their respective departments. 

Dr Yasmin Rashid admitted that fifty per cent of the posts of doctors and allied health staff in the province were lying vacant for years. She said that process for filling vacant posts would be started after bye elections. She said that relevant companies would either repair or replace dysfunctional equipment at different hospitals.

Later, Raja Basharat opened debate on law and order, price control and local government. “I will not talk about performance of previous regime. My focus will be performance of my government during the last forty days”, he said.

Hamza Shehbaz said that Safe City Project and ending load shedding were big achievements of PML-N regime. Leveling allegations of massive rigging in last general elections, he said that it was a serious wound on the democracy. He said that parliamentary commission would dig out truth. He said that the PML-N had become part of the system for the sake of democracy. He said that the present regime has imposed new taxes of Rs183.

He said the mini budget would bring a new wave of dearness and it would be difficult for the poor to make both ends meet. He said that contradictory statements of ministers on CPEC were worrying the nation. He urged the government to bring improvement in local government system instead of its abolition.

On completion of agenda, the chair prorogued the session.