LAHORE - Punjab Assembly on Monday discovered some champions of animal rights on its floor who insisted that veterinary hospitals in Punjab should have facilities for emergency treatment of animals and their surgery.

It came as a great surprise for the Livestock Minister Mr Bilal Yasin as the politicians usually don’t speak on the issue of animal rights on any forum. The assembly question hour yesterday mostly revolved around questions about lack of treatment facilities for animals in the government- run veterinary hospitals. Amjad Ali Javid, Khadeja Omer, Mian Tariq Mehmood and Murad Raas had specific questions about emergency treatment of animals and their surgery. But they did not get satisfactory answers from the minister who thought only the humans deserve such a treatment.

“You are equating Ashrafull Makhluqaat (humans) with animals. It is just unfair”, the minister told Mian Tariq Mehmood of the ruling party who believed that government should not differentiate between the humans and the animals when it comes to their treatment. He was also bent upon seeking an assurance from the minister about provision of better treatment facilities for animals at the veterinary hospitals.

Livestock minister’s argument about lack of surgery facilities for animals was that it was more expensive than the actual worth of the animals. “It may be counter-productive in most of the cases, and hence this facility cannot be provided to the animals”, he maintained.

Responding to a question by Khadeja Omer, the minister said that no veterinary hospital in Gujrat district had the facility to keep the animals for treatment. To another question, he said that government had no plan to keep the veterinary hospitals open in the evening for emergency treatment.

The minister minced no words while declaring that none of the veterinary hospitals in Punjab offered emergency treatment to the animals. He was also categorical in saying that all veterinary dispensaries and hospitals at Toba Taik Singh were without boundary walls and their buildings were in dilapidated condition. He also admitted on the assembly floor that most of the facilities were operating without ultrasound machines, x-ray machines, refrigerators for storage of vaccines and other modern equipment.

Nonetheless, he assured the House that government had the intention to provide for these missing facilities in the coming years.

He further informed that government was in the process of implementing a plan for animal treatment through mobile dispensaries. Some 5000 motor bikes and 4000 vehicles would be in the field soon to provide treatment to animals at the door steps, he said. “People face troubles to take their livestock to the veterinary hospitals. These mobile dispensaries would resolve this issue”, he added.

When the House took up adjournment motions, parliamentary secretaries for local government and agriculture were not present to respond to the adjournment motions concerning their departments. Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah arrived quit late in the House and the Speaker had to reverse the order of call attention notices he was supposed to respond.

Also, Finance Minister Ayesha Ghous Pasha could not conclude pre-budget discussion on Monday due to lack of quorum. Opposition pointed out lack of quorum minutes before she was to make a speech in the Assembly. The deputy speaker adjourned the House till Tuesday morning.