LAHORE - Punjab Assembly on Monday carried out important legislation without any resistance from the Opposition. Both the bills sailed through the House within minimum possible duration as not a single cut motion was moved by the Opposition.

Like the last session, the Opposition resorted to accusing the government of victimizing political opponents instead of bringing the house in order to devise any strategy to fight against deadly coronavirus. Treasury legislators accused the Opposition of doing politics on the pandemic, saying the government machinery was active to save people from the virus. The session started one hour and 15 minutes behind the scheduled time with panel of chairman Mian Shafi in the chair.

During government business, the Code of Criminal Procedure (Punjab Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Punjab Village Panchayats and Neighbourhood Councils (Amendment) Bill 2020 sailed through the House, as otherwise vocal Opposition legislators remained silent spectators during the proceedings.

During question hour on Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department, Minister for Health Dr Yasmin Rashid said that requisition for recruitment of 10,000 doctors would be forwarded to the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) soon.

To a supplementary question, she said that more than 2,000 doctors had already been recruited through the PPSC. The minister said that the healthcare providers waiting for promotion for a long time would be soon promoted to next grades. To a question about quality of testing kits, she said that the government had tested kits, which were giving 100 per cent accurate results.

During general discussion on upcoming budget and coronavirus pandemic, PML-N’s Awais Leghari said that the government failed to devise national strategy to fight the pandemic. He said that collective efforts were needed to minimize health risk and face the economic challenges posed by coronavirus.

He said that health, education and agriculture were worst hit sectors. He appealed revisiting the decision of easing lockdown at a time when cases were increasing rapidly. He feared that over 29 million people in Punjab would lose employment due to the pandemic. He said that Rs12,000 assistance was a short term relief during the lockdown. He said that such assistance would only produce beggars and there was need to take measures for providing opportunities to unemployed people.

PML-N’s Kh Imran Nazir said that the government made tall claims of prior preparedness to cope with the pandemic. He said that mismanagement at Taftan border resulted in spreading virus to every nook and corner of the country. Instead of fighting coronavirus, he said, the government was busy victimizing the political opponents. He said that instead of using lady health workers, teachers and dengue squad, the present regime resorted to political tactics of making tigers force. Muavia Azam said that the world was facing the consequences of putting people of Kashmir under lockdown for more than one year.

He said that the rulers were talking of State of Madina but at the same time not getting rid of interest. He demanded giving interest free budget for the coming fiscal year. Referring to distribution of Rs12,000 among deserving families to cope with the challenges posed by lockdown, he said that the rulers should take these back but protect Namoos-e-Risalat (SAW). PTI’s Ahmed Shah Khagga said that the pandemic helped bringing people close to Islam and traditions. He said that the situation caused positive impact on routine of women. On completion of debates on agenda, the chair adjourned the session till 11:30 am on Tuesday (today).