LAHORE – The treasury on Thursday managed to get six bills passed, including the Walled City of Lahore Bill 2011 and The Evacuee Property and Displaced Persons Laws (Repeal) (Amendment) Bill 2011 at the Punjab Assembly, failing opposition attempts to adjourn the proceedings by pointing quorum.  During the legislation process, opposition legislator Ijaz Kahlun pointed quorum that led to adjournment of proceedings for half an hour. The treasury, however, managed to ensure presence of required number of legislators on lunch, completed quorum in one and half hour and carried out remaining legislation on the agenda.

The House passed the Walled City of Lahore Bill 2011 with a majority vote, rejecting all proposed amendments of the opposition legislators. The House passed remaining five bills unanimously as opposition did not propose any amendment.

The passage of Walled City of Lahore Bill 2011 will enable Punjab Government to establish an Authority with Chief Minister as its Chairman and Chief Secretary as Vice Chairman. The Authority will ensure protection of buildings of historical significance. The authority shall have powers to regulate trade and occupation in the old city, removal of encroachments, promotion of tourism and sports, acquire property both movable and immovable. As per the bill, four union councils of Ravi Town i,e 27, 28, 29 and 30, Minto Park, northern side of Iqbal Park and adjoining road will be part of the Walled City. A special magistrate can impose fine from Rs 0.1 million to Rs 1 million or imprisonment from six months to one year or both on demolishing archeological sites, changing their status or establishing encroachments.

As per Punjab Katchi Abadis (Amendment) Bill 2012, those residing in slums till December 31, 2011 will be given ownership of their residence. The PA also approved the Punjab Public Defender Service Act 2007 (Repeal) Bill 2011, the Punjab Government Servants Housing Foundation (Amendment) Bill 2011 and the Settlement Commissioners (Validation of Orders) (Repeal) Bill 2011. Earlier, Opposition Leader Raja Riaz, who appeared in the House first time after the defeat of Aslam Gill in Senate polls, complained that despite Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s assurance development funds had not been released to the opposition members as yet.