LAHORE – Punjab Assembly witnessed a rare incident of pointing quorum from treasury and that too on a private members day on Tuesday, causing adjournment of session after brief proceedings that lasted for merely 20 minutes.
Instead of giving more time, Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal adjourned the proceedings till Wednesday (today) at 10 am after ringing bells for five minutes, much to the dismay of legislators from the opposition who had submitted resolutions on issues of public interests including the one on Israeli aggression against innocent Palestinians.
Though any legislator could point out quorum but the treasury, as per the tradition, generally avoids such practice when there is government agenda and particularly on private members day.
The ongoing session is summoned by treasury and not the opposition. Secondly, Tuesday was a private members day when treasury follows the tradition of not pointing out quorum. PML-N lady legislator Shagufta Sheikh, after failing to convince the chair to take up the issue of death of his only son due to alleged negligence of doctors, pointed out quorum in frustration. After counting, the chair ordered ringing bells for five minutes. As the House was inquorate, the chair adjourned the proceedings till Wednesday (today) morning.
Earlier, the proceedings started one hour 54 minutes behind schedule time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. After Talawat and Naat, the chair directed starting proceedings of Question Hour on Education.
Responding to a supplementary question, Minister for Education Mian Mujtaba Shuja-ur-Rehman said that Shaista Pervaiz Malik, wife of PML-N MNA Pervaiz Malik, has nothing to do with the management of NGO Care, running government schools in Shalamar Town on self help basis. He said that the last regime awarded contract of managing public sector schools in Shalamar Town to an NGO Care, owned by Seema Aziz. He said that extension of contracts was about to expire and the government was considering the option of taking back schools from NGOs not showing good results. To a point raised by PPP legislator Fauzia Behram that some schools were teaching such things that were contradictory to religious and social values, the minister said that all institutions were following syllabus approved by the government. He said that the department could take action against schools teaching other than approved syllabus. To a question about performance of Punjab Education Foundation, he said that the government has increased allocation for institutions run by the Foundation from Rs 1.8 billion in 2007 to Rs 6.5 billion in 2012. He said that 375000 students were getting education at PEF schools in 2007 but now the number of students has reached 1249000. The minister was giving details on the issue when Shagufta Sheikh pointed out quorum that led to adjournment of session till Wednesday (today) morning.