LAHORE-The Punjab Assembly on Thursday passed the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority Bill 2019, though the Opposition staged a walkout against disallowing amendments to out-of-turn legislation.

Law minister Raja Basharat presented the report of the standing committee on the proposed legislation after the chair suspended proceedings on question hour on Irrigation department.

After completion of question hour, the law minister moved the motion for suspending rules of business for the consideration of the proposed legislation out of turn.

The Opposition questioned that why out of turn legislation when there was a set procedure for inviting amendments. The legislators also questioned making Governor Punjab patron in chief of the Authority supposed to work under the supervision of chief executive. They said that Governor was representative of the federal government and as such the House could not discuss his/her conduct. They said that there would be need of amending laws to give such a role and position to Governor Punjab.

Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi asked the law minister to clarify the points raised by the Opposwition legislators.

Raja Basharat said that out of turn legislation was quite usual. The previous regime, he said, had presented report of a standing committee, introduced and passed the bill on the same day. He said that there were examples of Governor signing the bill on the same day.

Referring to the Opposition plea of not accommodating amendment proposals, the law minister said that the standing committee had representation of all the parties, both from the treasury and the Opposition. They (Opposition members) had given input in the report of the standing committee, he said, adding, no objection was raised on the proposed draft. He said that Governing Body would manage and run the affairs of the Authority. He said that the Chief Minister would appoint head of the Authority after consultation with the Governor Punjab. As such, he said, there was no active role of Governor.

Expressing dissatisfaction over the reply of the law minister, the Opposition staged a walkout from the House. In the absence of the PML-N legislators, the House passed the bill. The only PPP woman legislator in the House neither followed her colleagues in the walkout nor opposed the bill.

On completion of agenda, the chair prorogued the session.