LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly yesterday approved 26 amendments in its Rules of Procedures, including five minutes long zero hour at the start of proceedings, amid walkout of the opposition.

The chair refused to entertain the request of Opposition Leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed regarding presentation of a resolution out of turn on the statement of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif against the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

During Government Business, the House also passed two bills: Canal and Drainage (Amendment) Bill 2015 and University of Okara Bill 2015.

The treasury also introduced two bills: Punjab Maintenance of Public Order (Amendment) Bill 2016 and Punjab Local Government (Third Amendment) Bill 2016, which were sent to the relevant standing committees with the direction to submit report within 60 days.

The proceeding started one hour and 12 minutes behind the scheduled time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair.

Law Minister Rana Sanaullah presented proposed amendments in Rules of Procedures of the provincial assembly. The House approved 26 amendments amid unannounced walk of the opposition. The Speaker has been given power to appoint or dismiss opposition leader if majority of the legislators submitted written request.

The Assembly sessions will be convened as per the calendar issued at the start of parliamentary year. However, the Governor can call assembly session anytime. At least, three sessions will be convened in a year and the gap between two sittings cannot exceed 120 days.

Compulsion of at least 100 days proceedings in one parliamentary year will continue. Five minutes zero hour has been added before the start of Question Hour. Any member can raise issue of public interest on point of order during five minute long zero hour.

Speaker can extend time period keeping in view the importance of that issue. One member can bring only one adjournment motion in a day and the relevant parliamentary secretary will respond on the floor of the House.

To the suggestion of Opposition Leader to empower standing committees to take suo moto notice, Rana Sanaullah said the experience has not yielded desired results in the National Assembly.

Opposition Leader sought permission of the chair for presenting a resolution on Prime Minister’s statement on NAB. He said that corruption has paralyzed the system but the PM was supporting those involved in this heinous crime. “The prime minister’s statement was aimed at stopping the NAB from taking action against corrupts,” said Rasheed, adding that the statement gave a bad name to Pakistan.

During Question Hour on Social welfare and Bait-ul-Maal and Population Welfare Departments, Minister Begum Zakia Shahnawaz and Parliamentary Secretary Ilyas Ansari responded to the queries relating to their relevant departments.

On completion of agenda, the chair was adjourned the session till today (Thursday) at 10am.