LAHORE - Treasury on Friday unveiled its plan to tame the ‘unruly’ Opposition mainly through police investigation of Tuesday’s hooliganism inside the Assembly.

But at the same time, it also wants punitive action against the ‘trouble makers’ on the recommendation of a House committee which the Chair might constitute to fix responsibility for the untoward happening.

Unmoved by the Opposition’s protest, Speaker Assembly Ch Parvez Elahi is also determined not to withdraw his order banning entry of six PML-N lawmakers into the House.

Following Tuesday’s incident, the Speaker called senior police officers and the SHO concerned to inspect the ‘crime scene’ on the Assembly floor   to collect the necessary ‘evidence’. A report (Not FIR) of the happening has also been recorded in the Civil Lines Police Station to further probe the matter against the six legislators.

In an informal meeting with a select group of journalists after Friday’s Assembly sitting, Punjab Minister for Law Mohammad Basharat Raja confirmed media reports about police investigation against the banned Assembly members.

Inside the Assembly, Raja Basharat took the floor and asked the Chair to constitute a House committee to fix responsibility of the untoward happening. He also demanded that those found guilty of the offense must be made to pay an estimated amount of Rs 0.9 million to make amends for the damage done to the Assembly equipment. Two other ministers, Fayyazul Hasan Chohan and Ch Zaheeruddin also reiterated the same.

Raja Basharat in his informal chat with journalists hinted at not pursuing the police case if the Opposition agreed to become part of the proposed House committee to settle the issue. Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif in his media talk also desired resolution of the conflict through a House committee.

Before start of the Friday sitting, the Treasury did make an effort to bring the Opposition back, but the negotiations between the two sides ended without any outcome. Punjab Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mohammad Basharat Raja and Mian Naseer of the PML-N met in Speaker’s chamber but failed to resolve the gridlock. If the Opposition’s representative wanted unconditional return of its ‘incriminated’ members to the Assembly, the minister was not ready to budge an inch from government’s stance. The Law minister reportedly sought guarantees for good behavior from the Opposition to end the deadlock but Mian Naseer did not show any flexibility to do the same.

Consequently, one side of the aisle in Punjab Assembly was completely missing yesterday as the House opened up debate on the provincial budget after two-day break.

It was rather found on the Assembly stairs protesting and vowing not to return till the Chair clears the way for six opposition members to enter the house.

Assembly’s security staff on Friday stopped the banned lawmakers from entering the Assembly premises citing Speaker’s orders issued on Tuesday last. This has also sparked a debate over whether or not the Speaker had the authority to stop members from entering the Assembly premises when they have been barred only from sitting in the house for a specified period.  

The treasury side, however, insists that there are instances in the past when the debarred legislators were stopped outside the Assembly premises.  Notwithstanding this debate, the Opposition’s main concern remains the respectful return of its members to the house.

Treasury in Punjab Assembly perhaps believes that behavior therapy of the Opposition is a must to maintain decorum of the house. The Assembly Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi also stands firm on his stance that Opposition must behave for smooth running of the house.