LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly’s session on Monday was marked by the legislators’ lackadaisical attitude as most of the time was consumed in fighting over development funds which is not their prerogative.

Consequently, the Treasury was left with no other option but to withdraw the official business from the Monday’s agenda at the last moment as the required number of the PML-N legislators was not present in the House when the legislation was about to start. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal was left with no choice but to adjourn the sitting till Tuesday (today) even before the stipulated time.

The Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Bill, 2013 was included in Monday’s list of official business, but the same could not be adopted due to lack of quorum in the House. Despite the fact that the legislators are supposed to concentrate on legislation, the opposition members came up with the demand that they should be given development funds and representation in the District Development Committees.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah termed it an unlawful demand which could not be accepted. He told the House that the DDCs had been constituted as a result of an executive order of the Punjab Chief Minster, and hence these were not parliamentary committees. The minister said that the opposition members could be accommodated in other bodies if they were really interested in giving a lending hand to the government. He, however, said that the opposition could make a request to the Chief Minister for their nomination in the DDCs.

Earlier, the Opposition criticised the Punjab government for nominating blue-eyed workers in the DDCs, saying that non-elected members had no right to get representation in the committees. They termed it as a violation of rules of business and exploitation of the elected members. The Opposition members also showed their serious concerns over the delay of local bodies’ elections, saying that the government was intentionally not announcing elections.

The session started at 3:30 pm but it was adjourned for thirty minutes after Ali Raza Daraishak, a PTI member, pointed out the quorum. The proper proceedings of the house started about two hours late at 4:35 pm.

Meanwhile, the media boycotted the House proceedings over the death of a child-girl in Journalist Colony. However, they joined the proceedings later when Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal constituted a committee to look into their demands and asked them to come back over the request of Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.

After the completion of question hour session, PPP leader Sardar Shahabuddin stood on a point of order and said that all development funds were being granted to non-elected members in the DDCs in violation of rules of business and against the rights of the elected members. He said the government should include only the elected-members in DDCs, no matter which party they belonged to.

Upon the statement of Rana Sanaullah, the opposition started shouting in annoyance. Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed and other opposition members rejected the statement, saying that they would boycott the House proceedings.

Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed said that the opposition did not want funds; it only wanted representation in the development committees. He said these funds were meant to be utilised for local bodies and the government should announce a date for local bodies’ elections.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal intervened and said that the government tried to hold the LB elections but it could not materialised due to a number of reasons.

The law minister said the government also wanted to hold local bodies’ election soon but the opposition parties created hurdles by filing a petition in the court in the name of delimitation.

He said that the opposition should follow the rules of business and decide first what they really wanted to do. He said that a special team was constituted for transfers and postings and even the brother of Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed was transferred on merit. He said that he would request the chief minister that the opposition members wanted to meet him.

Later, the PTI members expressed serious concerns over what they said the poor investigation into the murder case of Neelam Ashraf’s son Nadeem Ashraf. They said that the grieved family was not satisfied over the investigation. Mian Muhammad Aslam said that police was still clueless regarding the culprits which was shameful.

The law minister replied that the government was equally grieved over the murder, and assured the House that every step would be taken to bring the culprits to the book.