LAHORE - Inordinate delay in start of proceedings and that too for a brief period on most of the days remained the hallmark of Punjab Assembly session that prorogued yesterday due to the same reason of lack of quorum.

The Assembly failed to complete agenda on six out of eight days including on Private Members Day due to lack of quorum. On couple of occasions, the proceedings lasted for less than 15 minutes. Though the quorum was pointed out on all eight days, the treasury managed to bring legislators in required number to the House on two occasions to complete the task of carrying out legislation.

The chair and the treasury blamed Ahsan Riaz Fatiana, who pointed quorum on seven occasions, for the episode, arguing that the Opposition had agreed in principle to allow completion of agenda. The treasury legislators called Mr Fatiana quorum boy, saying it was his non-serious attitude hindering the House proceedings. On the eighth day, PTI’s Shoaib Siddiqi pointed quorum as his colleague Mr Fatiana was not in the House to perform the ritual, causing the chair to prorogue the session.“The treasury has failed to maintain quorum despite having clear majority in the House. Like senior cabinet members, even the newly appointed ministers are not interested in the Assembly proceedings. Legislators pocket millions of rupees from public exchequer but give little importance to enable the House to complete agenda,” said Shoaib Siddiqi before pointing quorum yesterday.

The Opposition legislators, however, held the treasury responsible for the episode, saying it was impropriate to carry out proceedings when the House lacked quorum. The ministers and the treasury MPAs are not taking proceedings of the House seriously which is a wrong attitude.

Ahsan Riaz Fatiana humbled the treasury benches by persistently pointing the quorum due to grudge for not allowing out-of-turn resolution that seeks action under the relevant laws against the judges and bureaucrats with dual nationalities.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal expressed resentment that Ahsan had been showing non-serious behaviour and not allowing the House to function, despite that the opposition parties had agreed not to point quorum, especially during the question hour. However, Mr Fatiana made it a point to settle the score against the government as long as he has the chance.

His resolution called for taking action under the law against the members of judiciary and bureaucracy who have dual nationalities. He said the issue of dual nationalities brought embarrassment for politicians but judges and bureaucrats were being treated as sacred cows.

On December 1, the treasury managed to escape embarrassment by completing quorum to carry out the task of passing four bills - Punjab Criminal Prosecution Service (Constitution, Functions and Powers) (Amendment) Bill 2016, Parks and Horticulture Authority (Amendment) Bill 2016, Punjab Animals Feed Stuff And Compound Feed Bill 2016 and Punjab Halal Development Agency Bill 2016.

A day earlier, on November 30, the House regained quorum for passing three bills - Punjab Local Government (Amendment) Bill 2016, Punjab Local Government (Sixth Amendment) Bill 2016 and Forman Christian College Lahore (Amendment) Bill 2016. Also, two bills - Punjab Land Records Authority Ordinance 2016 and Punjab Urban Immovable Property Tax Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2016 - were laid.

On Nov 28, a delay of two hours and 15 minutes in start of proceedings infuriated the Opposition though the chair attributed the delay to cabinet meeting. The Opposition leader questioned what could be expected from others when the Leader of the House was showing disrespect to the Assembly of the biggest federating unit. The usual lack of interest on the part of the legislators delayed the start of proceedings by one hour and seven minutes.

During Question Hour on Irrigation, only one question could be taken up while all others were pended due to absence of legislators seeking replies from the department.

To a question of Amjad Ali Javed, Parliamentary Secretary Ijaz Mehmood Jajja assured the House that the issues relating to distribution of canal water in Toba Tek Singh would be resolved within one month.

PTI’s Asif Mehmood urged Law Minister Rana Sanaullah to clarify his position on the House floor over the allegation of grabbing land for building office in Faisalabad.

On a point of order, Amjad Ali Javed drew the attention of the House towards vacant posts and unavailability of medicines at hospitals in Toba Tek Singh. He said the employees were not given salaries for several months.

However, he expressed hope that the newly appointed health minister would intervene and resolve the issues at the earliest.