LAHORE - The briefly held Punjab Assembly session on Monday delivered a big warning to the absent, late coming and sneaking-out members and gave surety that the House will start proceedings with minimum delay now onwards.

Chaired by Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani, the House commenced proceedings one hour and 45 minutes behind the schedule. The proceedings continued for 15 minutes and were dominated by Opposition’s hullabaloo over the absence of relevant minister and secretary to reply questions relating to the food department and its walk out in protest.

Referring to an advisory committee meeting held on February 9, the Chair drew attention of the scant attendance of the members and said the committee had decided that no member in future would be allowed to mark his/her attendance through a fellow member and that after start of the session, late coming members would not be allowed to mark their attendance nor they would be allowed to sign their presence after the session is over. Only the members sitting in the assembly chamber will be allowed to mark their attendance and then the register will be closed, the Chair said announcing the decision. He said that next time maximum efforts will be made to start the session with minimum delay.

The House was dealing with the first question from the book when the Opposition pointed out absence of the minister for food and the secretary for which the Chair tried to cover up, giving the justification that they were at a high profile meeting being attended by the chief minister. Arif Abbasi invited attention of the Chair to the ruling that if not minister, secretary must be in the House when the questions are being answered relevant to his department.  The situation got further heated when the parliamentary secretary failed to provide satisfactory answer as to the quantum of fresh milk daily consumed in the city. Parliamentary Secretary Asadullah Arain did his best to defer the answer anyway but he failed. This was followed by Opposition’s protest walk out and the Chair sensing that quorum may be pointed out, read out the Advisory Committee decision and put off the session till 10am on Tuesday (today).