LAHORE - Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Wednesday apologised to journalist for his offensive remarks, reported Geo News. The provincial information minister in his clarification said that he gave the uncalled for reaction because he was going through troubled times as his wife was admitted to Services Hospital.

“Before I went on stage to speak in the memorial, my driver passed me a chit in which it was said that your wife was admitted to Services Hospital in an unconscious stage,” he said.

“It was a very tense moment for me, so I responded [like I did]. If someone is offended by my response I apologise.” The journalists present on the occasion accepted Chohan’s apology.

 Earlier, the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Wednesday aligned with the media and urged the minister to apologise on the floor of the House on his remarks he had uttered about journalists during a function at Alhamra Cultural Complex on Tuesday.

At the outset of the Assembly proceedings with Mian Shafi Muhammad in the chair, members of the Press Gallery boycotted coverage of the session in protest against the Minister’s remarks. Showing solidarity with media persons, the Opposition members first chanted slogans against the Minister and then walked out of the assembly in protest. The media men wanted the Minister to regret his media bashing words but the Opposition going a step ahead demanded him to step down.

The Chair deputed senior members Ch Zaheeruddin, Samiullah and Faizul Hassan himself to persuade media and the Opposition back after settling the matter. The members negotiated for about 15 minutes with the media men and convinced them and the Opposition to come back on the point that the Minister will extend apology over his remarks in the Assembly which he did at once after comeback of the media and the Opposition. However, Hassan Murtaza of PPP was still not appeased and taking the floor criticized the Minister saying, media is also not spared at hand of the Minister after had been targeting the politicians in his statements. He said when a ferocious tiger begins to hunt men, it needs to be made toothless. Hassan intended to bring a resolution against Fiazul Hassan Chohan but the Law Minister did not allow him in that day proceedings as the minister was not in the House.

The House was due to take questions on Agricultural, Narcotics and Law and Parliamentary Departments but the questions were disposed of as the movers were not present in the House. 

Speaking on a point of order, PML-N member Azma Bokhari raised the issue of transfer of Dr Ariba Abbasi, the daughter of her party leader, Hanif Abbasi, that the Law Minister pushing aside political differences, asked the Medical Superindent (MS) through phone for her transfer from emergency to the ward at PIMS Islamabad, but Minister request was not accepted and audio recording of the discussion was made viral. She said the embarrassing situation forced Dr Ariba to resign. The Member sought action under the cyber crime for leaking the private discussion which deprived a doctor of her job.

Replying to it, Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid told the House that a three-member committee had been constituted to look into this matter, and the report will be soon forthcoming for taking action against the responsible persons.

Dr Yasmin also narrated her own story that former Chief Minister made her victim by keeping her posting in Rawalpindi continuous for three years notwithstanding the fact a post of professor at KEMCU remained vacant for years. The Opposition however begun to protest against the Health Minister and demanded her resignation. However the protest died down short after. PML-N member Hina Pervez Butt taking the floor on a Point of Order wanted a direction to the Government for providing facility of treatment to three-time Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif through his personal physician in Kot Lakhphat Jail.

Sikh member of the PTI Mahindar Pal Singh pointed out that Sikh community should be exempted from putting on helmet since they were turbaned and wearing helmet was not possible for them. He said filling stations were also denying petrol to their bikes for not wearing helmet. Hina Butt also presented a resolution for constructing overhead bridge at Fatehgargh and U-turns at Harbanspura after widening the road to Jallo. Senior Minister Mian Mahmudur Rashid told the House that much of the beforehand work in this regard has been completed and the bridge will be completed soon.

On completion of the agenda, the chair adjourned the session till 11am on Thursday (today).