LAHORE - Opposition legislators criticised ministers for accepting presence of Daesh (ISIS) in the province in stark contradiction to the claims of the federal government.

During debate on law and order at the Punjab Assembly on Friday, the opposition legislators come hard on the government for mishandling the Sahiwal incident and accepting CTD officials move of portraying innocent family as ISIS terrorists.

Law Minister Raja Basharat formally announced increasing standing committee from existing 36 to 40. Share of treasury and the opposition will be 21 and 19 respectively.

The session started two hours and 30 minutes beyond the scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair.

During the debate, PML-N legislator Samiullah Khan demanded action against the agency that provided wrong information of presence of ISIS terrorists in the car that led to killing of innocent people. While appreciating institutions for successful operations like Zarb-e-Azb and Raddul Fasad in the past, he said that “hundred percent correct” operation in Sahiwal was a big question mark that earned bad name. He suggested the House to show courage and demand strict action against those who shared incomplete and wrong information with the CRD. He said that whenever agencies deviated from professionalism and acted irresponsibly in the past, they faced criticism. He said that CTD was claiming that it got information of presence of terrorists in the car. Whether the CTD took action on a tip off or at own was question to be answered, he said, adding, the ministers were claiming presence of Daesh that was later contradicted by the foreign office.

Former Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that killers of innocent parents in the presence of kids deserve no mercy. He said that the responsible of Sahiwal tragedy should be exposed and awarded exemplary punishment. Demanding constitution of a judicial commission, he said JIT had already lost confidence and it could never expose the killers. 

Terming last day in camera briefing to the House a movie of James Bond, PPP’s parliamentary leader Hasan Murtaza said information was flying to the CTD officials who chased and opened fire on the car like heroes. He accused the ministers of violating the ruling of the chair, saying one has said that ‘we are the government’. He lamented that those supposed to guard the citizens were enjoying protocol and heavy security while the hapless masses were at the mercy of criminals and men in police uniforms. He said that PPP had always stood against the terrorists.

PML-N’s Rahila Naeem accused the provincial government of damaging national interests by admitting presence of Daesh. She said that federal government has rejected the claims of CTD and ministers. She said CTD had been on countless occasions making the claims of having killed terrorists of ISIS in suspicious encounters. She said that agencies and government had so far failed to give any proof to support the allegations that Zeeshan was a terrorist. She said the tip-off and the operation were both grossly wrong and irresponsibly conducted.

Treasury legislator Samsam Bukhari said the Punjab province had already turned into a police state. He demanded changing the rotten system of rule of gun and giving justice to ill fated kids without any delay.

Earlier, during Question Hour on Industries and Commerce, Labour and Natural Resources, and Environment Protection departments, minister Mian Aslam Iqbal and PML-N’s Azma Zahid Bukhari exchanged hot words after the latter accused the former of providing incorrect answer and not tolerating criticism. The chair calmed down the minister saying ‘you should show grace’.

Azma Bukhari said the banned plastic bags were being used in violation of the laws but the government was acting as silent spectator. She said the polythene bags of banned gauge were the main source of environmental pollution.

Minister Ch Zaheeruddin said the government had done necessary legislation. Under the laws, he said, sale, purchase, usage and import of black polythene bags and those of less than 15 micron thickness were banned. He said cases were registered against the violators and action was also taken.

To a supplementary question of PML-N’s Chaudhry Ilyas, minister Mian Aslam Iqbal said that the issue of decanting of LPG cylinders was relating to OGRA and not the Punjab government. The opposition legislator suggested that the Punjab government could at least recommend the federal government for necessary legislation and action against the practice that could lead to loss of precious lives.

Law minister announced that four new standing committees were constituted on Special Health, School Education, Energy and Public Prosecution. Now the number of standing committees of the House was 40, of which 21 would have chairmen from the treasury and 19 from the opposition. The PPP would also get chairmanship of one standing committee.

The opposition members could get chairmanship of standing committees on Housing, Cooperatives, Human Rights, Culture, Special Education, Auqaf, Labor, Industries and Commerce, and Colonies.

The law minister laid Mir Chakar Khan Rind University of Technology DG Khan Bill which was referred to relevant committee.

On completion of agenda, the chair prorogued the session.