LAHORE - The Thursday session of the Punjab Assembly witnessed love and hate tide running side by side between the political divide, as the opposition demanded an inquiry into the alleged corruption in the Youth Festival funds and also thumped desks along with the treasury, appreciating the prime minister’s visit to the PTI chairman’s residence to discuss strategy for restoring peace in the country.

Chief Minister’s Adviser on Health Khawaja Salman Rafique told the house that services of ad-hoc nurses could not be regularised according to the rules and regulations, however, the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) would grant 10 additional marks in departmental examination to such nurses in view of their experience.

The house approved three bills with majority by rejecting the opposition’s proposed amendments. The passed bills include: The Punjab Development of Cities (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Lahore Garrison University Bill 2014 and the Punjab Payment of Wages (Amendment) Bill 2013.

The bills tabled in the house were: Muhammad Nawaz Shareef University of Engineering and Technology Multan Bill 2014, the Punjab Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2014, the Punjab Reproductive, Maternal, Neo-natal and Child Health Authority Bill 2014 and the Punjab Mental Health (Amendment) Bill 2014.

The Punjab Assembly session which started with Acting Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair witnessed both light and a few tense moments at the same time between the opposition and the treasury.

Members from the PTI-led opposition thumped desks along with the treasury while appreciating a meeting between the prime minister and the PTI chief to discuss the process of the upcoming peace dialogue with Taliban. The legislators expressed the hope for a smooth working relationship between the two sides of the house.

At the same time, Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, on a point of order, demanded an inquiry into the alleged corruption in the Youth Festival funds and said he would write a letter to the chief minister concerning the matter and present documented evidence, when needed.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah claimed the government had ensured transparency and merit in each department of the province and it would hold an inquiry into the allegations of the opposition leader.

Mehmood proposed the government should constitute a committee to probe the financial corruption in the Youth Festival funds and induct an opposition member in the body for ensuring transparency.

Mehmood said the provincial government, following the mature political trends of the federal government, should give representation to the opposition members in the district coordination committees, besides providing development funds to them.

Earlier, Punjab Irrigation Minister Mian Yawar Zaman, replying to an important query concerning his department during the question hour, told the house that procedure for registering a water theft case had been changed. Under the new procedure, a complainant should nominate the accused for registration of a water theft case.

Treasury member, Mian Rafique, on a point of order, accused his own government of abetting water theft in the province.

Opposition member, Dr Waseem Akhtar, criticising the performance of the Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA), said repeated change of guards in the office of the irrigation secretary was the major cause of difficulties in the poor working of the department.