LAHORE - Punjab Assembly has demanded the federal government issue blue passports to provincial lawmakers. Through a unanimously passed resolution presented by treasury legislator Awais Qasim Khan on Private Members Day on Tuesday, the house urged the federal government to treat provincial legislators and those in the National Assembly on equal basis and issue blue passports.

Criticising the government for deteriorating law and order situation in the province and Thana culture, the opposition staged a  five-minute walkout from the house. 

Besides passing resolution of ‘public interest’ regarding issuance of blue passports to provincial legislators amid desk thumping for three minutes, the House also adopted four other resolutions including legislation to check corporal punishment on students at schools, introducing phase wise basic life support and fire safety training to students at educational institutes, making compulsory NOC from the concerned authority for advertisement of residential schemes in newspapers and improving security at public places to counter terrorism.

Earlier, the session started with one hour and five minutes behind the scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair.

Soon after start of the proceedings, Opposition Leader Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed stood on Point of Order and drew attention of the House toward deteriorating law and order situation in the province. Coming down hard on the government for increasing incidents of gang rape and decoities, he requested Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif to focus on province instead of taking interests in matters relating to the federal government. He said that the CM has given Rs 500,000 to the family of gang rape victim in Muzaffargarh but it would not bring back the girl student. He said that the government has allocated Rs 77 billion for Police for the ongoing fiscal year but its performance was zero. He said that the government has miserably failed to change Thana culture and now one Amina was pleading for justice outside every police station in the province. Referring to frequent foreign tours of the CM, he suggested Shahbaz Sharif become foreign minister and handover responsibility of running provincial government to his son Hamza Shahbaz. He said that a girl in Chiniot was tied to a tree after rape and Rs10 million looted in Lahore in a single bid which speaks volume about the prevailing law and order situation. Saying that there was no writ of the government in the province, he along with the opposition legislators staged a walk out.

Law minister Rana Sanaullah said that government was alert on crimes and appointing high police officials after getting report from intelligence agencies. He said that the CM personally visited Amna’s home in Muzafar Garh and also took action against DPO for his negligence.

Treasury legislator Sheikh Allauddin stood on a point of order and criticized media saying that some of the columnists were leveling baseless allegations that MPAs were involve in supporting thieves and appointing blue-eyed SHOs in their constituencies.

Backed by Waris Kallu and Malik Ahmed, Sheikh Allauddin said that such columnist were blackmailers who should be asked to tell how they make huge money and properties. He said that he would move a privilege motion against them.

During Question Hour on Agriculture, opposition legislators protested against submission of wrong answers. The chair directed Agriculture Minister Dr Farrukh Javaid to take action against responsible officials. The minister informed the House that draft of Agriculture Marketing Law would be presented before the Assembly after approval from the Punjab CM. He said that the government has started the process of dissolving 89 market committees showing losses. He said that Punjab Seed Corporation and other private companies provide certified seeds to 35 to 40 per cent of farmers. He said that the government has launched a project of rehabilitation of 51293 acre saline land in the province with the cooperation of UN.

To a question of Makhdoom Shahb-ud-Din, he said that the government ended contract of employees including 47 supervisors after completion of cementing of irrigation channels project. To a question of Nighat Nasir Sheikh, he said that the government funded 58 projects of Agriculture Reaearch Board during the last five years. He said that so far 12 projects have been completed and the remaining were in the final stage of completion.