LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly Wednesday unanimously passed a resolution to authorise the Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) to legislate on regulating drugs throughout the country.

The 34th session of the provincial assembly, presided over by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, passed the resolution while suspending the rules of business relevant to taking up business on the agenda of the day.

The resolution presented by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah aims at enabling the forums at the Centre to legislate on regulating every matter relating to the medicines in the country.

The outlines of a sorry end of the day proceedings had been drawn at the very outset as the members on the both sides of the divide got entangled in a blame game and the worsening situation led the opposition to stage a walkout to render the quorum incomplete, consequently suspending debate on other agenda items.

The Opposition’s move halted presentation of the Bank of Punjab (Amendment Bill) 2011, already considered by the Standing Committee on Finance.

The session witnessed Opposition Leader Raja Riaz calling the Punjab Chief Minister ‘Qatil-e-Aala’, in the context of the deaths caused by spurious medicines at the Punjab Institute of Cardiology (PIC), and found the appellation of ‘bonga’ in return from Rana Sana, which resulted in unpleasant hooting, shouting and chanting, which has become a trademark of the house.

After the Opposition walked out in protest over the absence of the CM and not releasing Rs 8 million development funds to each of its member, the speaker had to ultimately prorogue the session indefinitely as the members did not return.

The positive feature of the proceedings was the felicitations extended by both sides on the approval of 20th Amendment for appointment of a neutral and consensus Election Commission and the caretaker set-up to make the next election transparent, fair and acceptable to all. But the speeches of appreciation were not without bitter and objectionable remarks which the speaker expunged from the proceedings.

As the law minister was about to present the resolution, Opposition Leader Raja Riaz, on a point of order, charged Shahbaz as ‘inefficient and incompetent’ for lagging behind other provinces in the matter of passing the resolution in question, saying the bid aimed at creating hurdles for legislation at the federal level. Raja, who was actually annoyed over the ‘non-appearance’ of the CM in the last two sessions despite vehement calls by the Opposition benches, went on to accuse him of not even allowing the house to complete its annual days of sessions, keeping in view that the assemblies will be dissolved before time.

Rana Sana countered Raja’s claims, saying he (Raja) had nothing to say on which he could focus and what he had uttered was nothing but ‘bongies’ (nonsense).

He said the remarks of Raja against the CM were quite irrelevant to the resolution. He explained the delay saying that the resolution had to be tabled after the federal government handed over the administrative control of Sheikh Zayad Hospital to the province, which it did only the last evening after repeated requests by the CM.

Bu the Opposition members resorted to shouting and chanting slogans, seemingly under a premeditated plan. However, with the intervention of the chair the situation came under control and the minister was given the floor to read out the resolution, which the members approved with one voice. Later, Chaudhry Zaheeruddin from the PML-Q urged the members to show decency and play a constructive role in the house, ending the trend of blaming each other when the democratic process in the country was passing through an evolutionary phase.

Zulfiqar Gondal (PPP) warned the provincial government of not allowing the house to carry out the business, if the CM did not appear in the next session.

Rana Afzal (PML-N) felt offended by the use of non-parliamentary language and useless speeches by the members. He objected to the words used against the CM and said it tarnished image of the house.