ISLAMABAD - The government and opposition lawmakers in a rare show of unity Tuesday opposed restoring the public holiday on November 9 - the birthday of Allama Muhammad Iqbal.

The lawmakers from both sides of aisle in National Assembly proceedings opposed the resolution to declare November 09 - Iqbal Day - as an official holiday.

PML-N’s MNA Ahsan Iqbal was not in favour of restoring the public holiday, which was proposed by his party’s colleague Nisar Ahmed Cheema. “We have much respect for the poet of the east. There should be no further holidays as we need to do more work rather increasing public holidays in the country...The teachings of Iqbal should be implemented,” the PML-N MNA said, mentioning there was no need to restore the public holiday on the Iqbal Day .

Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari supported the point raised by opposition MNA, saying there should be no holiday on the Iqbal Day . “This day should be observed in a meaningful way...There is a need to understand the teachings of Allama Iqbal,” the PTI MNA said.

However, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan was of the view that the resolution should not be rejected as would send a wrong message. PML-N MNA Nisar Ahmad Cheema withdrew his resolution to present it later after reformulation.

Meanwhile, Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood said that a committee was also being formed to review syllabus of schools and colleges.

CONCERN OVER BANKS STOLEN DATA

The lawmakers from opposition and government raised serious concerns over the matter regarding stealing customers’ data from Pakistani banks.

PML-N’s MNA Ahsan Iqbal on a point of order drew attention of the house about a big security breach. “According to the information, customers’ data from Pakistani banks has been stolen,” said Iqbal. Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood, expressing serious concerns, termed it a serious security breach. However, the matter was not further discussed in the house.

 

Shah reaction to Fawad’s statement

 

Former leader of opposition in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah, with the onset of proceedings, turned the atmosphere in the house pleasant with his remarks about sending lawmakers into space. “Half of the government benches will be empty if only ‘chaotic politicians’ are being proposed to send into space,” remarked senior PPP-P MNA Khursheed Shah, commenting on the information minister’s statement. As Fawad Chaudhary in a lighter vein remarked that a plan is being made to send ‘chaotic politicians’ into space.

Shah said Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) had asked for five years data to send them to space. “I request that instead of five years they should ask for the last three, four months.” Shah said.

About renaming Benazir Bhutto Airport, he strongly criticised the idea for changing the name of airport in Rawalpindi. “Our friends (PML-N) have renamed the Benazir Bhutto Airport, as New Islamabad Airport,” he said.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Muhammad Ali, responding to the concerns, lauded the sacrifices of Benazir Bhutto. “She (prime minister Benazir Bhutto) is the martyr of democracy and was killed performing a national duty,” he said.

 

STANDING COMMITTEES FORMATION ISSUE

 

The opposition MNAs raised serious concerns for not making consensus over formation of standing committees of the National Assembly. “Over time month period has lapsed but the government could not make consensus over this important matter,” said MMA Maulana Akbar Chitrali.

State Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad assured that the matter would be resolved soon. “Only the formation of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is pending, as rest of the committees have almost been finalised,” said the minister.

 

RESOLUTION CONDEMNs ASSASSINATION OF MAULANA SAMI

 

The house passed a unanimous resolution to condemn assassination of JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq.

The resolution, moved by Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, paid rich tribute to Maulana Sami for his services in fields of religion, teaching and politics.

The resolution urged the government to take necessary measures to provide foolproof security to national leadership to avoid any such incidents in the future.

The resolution called for tracing the culprits involved in the coldblooded murder of Maulana Samiul Haq and awarding exemplary punishment to them.

The House also offered fateha for the departed soul of renowned politician from Azad Jammu and Kashmir and member of AJK Legislative Assembly Sardar Khalid Ibrahim Khan. Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali led the fateha.

 

SPEAKER RECONCILES YOUNG LAWMAKERS

 

The chair settled the dispute between lawmakers of the government (Abdul Majeed) and opposition (Syed Rafi Ullah). Both the lawmakers had engaged in verbal brawl during the proceedings other day (Monday).

 

LEGISLATION

 

Four bills including “The Evacuee Trust Properties (Management and Disposal) (Amendment) bill, 2018”, “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Articles 51 and 106)”, “The Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2018 (Article 27)” and “The National Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill, 2018” were introduced in the house.

 

Lawmakers oppose restoring Iqbal Day holiday