LAHORE - Amid token boycott by the Opposition, the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday approved 43 demands for grants amounting to Rs12.75 trillion in respect of various provincial departments.
Six cut motions moved by the Opposition pleading reduction in the budget allocations for six departments were rejected with majority vote.
The opposition members were allowed to speak only on three cut motions on education, police and agriculture departments. When Main Islam Equal of PTI rose from his seat to speak on a cut motion regarding health department, he was told by the Chair that the time allocated for discussion on the cut motions had expired and now was the time reserved for approval of demands for grants for rest of the departments.
Upon this, he led a token walk out from the House along with a few opposition members. Leader of the Opposition, Main Mehmoodur Rashid was not present in the House at that time. But when he joined the proceedings after some time, Mehmood stood on a point of order to agitate this issue. But Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal refused to oblige him too. He also walked out along with the entire opposition but only to join the House again after few minutes when the Speaker sent two ministers to bring the opposition members back.
Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif attended the Assembly session for some time on Tuesday. It was his second appearance in the House after announcement of the budget.
Though the Assembly on Tuesday approved all the demands for grants in respect of different provincial departments, the budget for the year 2015-16 would be deemed to have been passed after the anticipated passage of the finance bill on Wednesday (today).
Earlier, during the debate on a cut motion regarding police department, Punjab Home Minister, Col. Retd. Shuja Khanzada defended the budget allocation for police by telling the House that it ensured foolproof security to the Zimbabwean team in Lahore last month.
The minister also informed the House that before the visit of Zimbabwean cricket team to Pakistan, its manager was sent a message by Indian secret agency, RAW in Dubai that Pakistan was facing terrorism, and hence the tour should be cancelled.
The minister said that the text message threatened of serious consequences for the team if it continued with its planned tour of Pakistan. “If you don’t cancel the tour, Daish would do the same with you as it was doing in Iraq”, the minister told the House quoting from the said text message.
Home minister further told the House that when the message received by the manager of Zimbabwean team was tracked, it was found that it had come from New Dehli.
He alleged that India wanted the cricket series to be cancelled so that Pakistan’s image abroad could be tarnished. Shuja commended the performance of police and rangers for providing foolproof security to the Zimbabwean cricket which foiled nefarious designs of India.
Later, talking to the media outside Punjab Assembly, Shuja Khanzada said that enemies of Pakistan, which was a nuclear country, could not tolerate any healthy activities in Pakistan. Similarly, he added, India and other countries were opposing Pak-China Economic Corridor Project. He said that he was receiving threats from terrorists over implementation of national action plan but he paid no attention.
He said that the successful visit of Zimbabwean Cricket team had improved the image of law enforcement agencies. He said that Safe City Projects were being started in big cities due to which better security will be available to the citizens.
Khanzada said that under safe city project, 80 thousand cameras will be installed in Lahore city for crime surveillance. He said that in order to change thana culture, the process of recruitments and training to the police was being made transparent. He said that police force has been divided into different groups for the purpose of implementation of national action plan. He said that the aim of setting up CTD, Elite Force and Special Protection Unit is to deal with the terrorist activities in an effective manner.
He said that special branch was being reorganized to make it a modern civilian institution. He said that 23620 cases had been registered with regard to terrorism under national action plan and 25260 persons had been arrested. He said that 208 persons had been declared guilty in terrorist activities in Punjab, out of which, 75 had been arrested while efforts were being made for the arrest of other persons.
The Home Minister further said that action will be taken with the help of federal government against the non-government organizations destroying law and order in the country and helping terrorists. He said all out cooperation will be extended to the federal government in this regard.
He said that forensic labs were being established at divisional level and modern equipment was being provided to law enforcement agencies like developed countries of the world and Inspector General Police Punjab was giving a final shape to the matter.