LAHORE              -           Once more, the treasury and opposition benches eschewed debate and indulged in a verbal clash during proceedings of the Punjab Assembly; this time, following incendiary remarks by a PPP legislator against the Prime Minister. During a general discussion on food and agriculture, Syed Hassan Murtaza termed the Prime Minister “a beggar bent upon making Pakistan a nation of beggars.” Cabinet members and ruling party legislators protested the remarks and started chanting slogans against the opposition leadership. Murtaza objected to repeated interventions in his speech and walked out of the house in protest. All the PML-N lawmakers also left raising slogans like “go Imran go”, and calling the government “flour thieves, sugar thieves, medicine thieves and petrol thieves”. Following this, Law Minister Raja Basharat said that Mr Murtaza was respectable to them but it was wrong to call the Prime Minister a beggar as whatever the premier was doing was for the nation. He warned that the treasury would pay back in the same coin if the opposition would resort to using foul language against the ruling party’s leadership. On demand of the minister, the chair expunged the remarks from the record. It also ruled that the video clips of speeches containing the expunged remarks but obtained by the legislators from the assembly record must not be released to social or electronic media without the permission of the Speaker. It also directed the assembly staff not to issue the video clips without approval of the Speaker.

The law minister earlier introduced the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (Amendment) Bill 2020 which was referred to the relevant standing committee with the direction of submitting report within 60 days.

During the Question Hour, PML-N’s Arshad Malik and Minister for Prosecution Ch Zaheer exchanged hot words on repeated intervention by the latter. The minister argued that he was only pointing out to the chair violations of rules and regulations as well as traditions by the opposition members.

He said it’s expected that one would speak nicely as per one’s social training in the house and if insulting, vulgar or words of poor taste were used the same were expunged from the record.

Mr Malik said that he didn’t use such language that warranted to be expunged and he was only emphasizing that the department was not responding to his written queries for the last one year.

On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till Monday (July 20) at 2pm.