LAHORE – Legislators from both sides of Punjab’s political divide on Thursday became one voice in blasting the provincial police over the ever-increasing crime rate. They also protested against the absence from the Officials’ Gallery of the Assembly of Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and Inspector General of Police during a heated debate on the law and order situation in the province.

The Unification Bloc legislator Atta Muhammad Manika took the notice of lack of interest on the part of the Treasury, especially its ministers, and even went to the extent of pointing quorum, which caused Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal to adjourn the proceedings till Friday morning.

Earlier, the proceedings started some 2 hours and 8 minutes later with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. The chair informed the House that rules have been suspended and Question Hour and adjournment motions have been postponed to give extra time to debate on law and order. He, however, said that Call Attention Notices would remain on the agenda. On the objection of Mohsan Leghari, the Speaker said that the decision was taken at the Business Advisory Committee meeting. He informed the legislator that his adjournment motion would be on the agenda for Friday.

Taking part in the debate, well prepared PML-Q legislator Seemal Kamran reminded the House the past speeches of Rana Sanaullah when he was on opposition benches. Reminding the law minister about his struggle when he was in the opposition, she said that Rana Sanaullah was well aware about the performance of Police. Contradicting the assertions of law minister that electricity and gas load shedding were the major causes of increase in crimes, she said that if it was the case then there was no need to spend money on Police as the law and order situation would improve after overcoming the energy crises. She said that crime rate was also high even before the energy crises. She said that in reality there was no law and order and dozens of people lost their lives on daily basis. She said that the government has failed to change thana culture and people were afraid to go to the Police for registration of an FIR. She said there was law of jungle in Lahore, police checkposts were on every road while people in houses were on the mercy of bandits. Referring to the Black Book of the police, she said that maximum number of proclaimed offenders having head money of Rs500,000 to Rs700,000 were in Lahore. She said that outlaws deprived Sajida Mir and Amina Ulfat their valuables in broad daylight. She said that even those roaming in official vehicles and their guards were not safe.

Pointing out absence of high officials from the gallery, treasury legislator Ahmed Khan Baloch expressed hope that law minister would record recommendations of members. He said that the government has even failed to honour its commitment of bringing necessary changes in the Police Order. He said that the people were ultimate sufferer of the lack of interest of the government.  Referring to the recent public meeting of Mutahhida Ulema Council, PPP legislator Pervaiz Rafiq said that it was a pity that the participants resolved to borrow the gun that killed ex-Governor Salman Taseer. He said that such trends should be discouraged as these created sense of insecurity among minorities. He said there was need to know that from where these people would get Rs 100 million to borrow that gun. He stressed upon the Apex Court to take notice of the matter like it did in memo issue.

Sh Allauddin said that the Police spent over 40 per cent of the fuel in providing security during VVIP movement. He said that middle man culture still existed at Police Stations. He said that business of drugs was on the rise while unethical activities were at peak at guesthouses. He proposed computerization of record of rent a car, rent a bike and property dealers, revival of panchayat system, installation of tracking devices on Police vehicles, separate force for providing security to the VVIPs and showing the exit door to the unfit Police employees like the army men.

Amina Ulfat said that increase in crime rate was a serious issue as those providing security to public were also not safe. During her debate, Atta Muhammad Manika pointed quorum that led to adjournment of the proceedings till Friday morning.