LAHORE  -   Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari on Friday suspended three opposition legislators for ‘improper and rude behavior’.

The opposition strongly reacted to the decision of suspension of PML-N’s Pir Ashraf Rasool. Legislators tore apart copies of agenda, chanted slogans against the chair before staging a walkout but not without pointing quorum. During adjournment of proceedings due to lack of quorum, the deputy speaker chaired a meeting at his chamber, went through footage and evaluated the possible action against ‘rude members’.

On the resumption of proceedings after 20 minutes break, the chair announced similar action against another two members, Azma Zahid Bokhari and Rana Abdul Rauf.

The session started two hours behind the scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari in the chair.

During question hour on agriculture, the chair stopped PML-N’s Azma Zahid Bokhari from asking a supplementary question, saying it was inappropriate to interrupt. He asked the legislator to sit down, saying: ”You are in the habit of standing up and interfering every matter.”

Reacting to the remarks, she said: “We respect the chair but it seems you don’t want this respect. We have not come here for irrelevant talks.”

Supporting his colleague, Pir Ashraf Rasool said that this was not the way to deal women.

“You are misbehaving. You are unaware about the respect of a woman. We don’t accept you as a chair”, he said. The opposition legislators joined Pir Ashraf Rasool in the protest against the chair. They tore apart copies of agenda and chanted slogans against the chair. On the direction of Deputy Speaker, Director General Research presented a copy of rules. He also briefed the chair about the rule relating to suspension of members.

The opposition staged a walkout as the chair announced suspension of Pir Ashraf Rasool. In the meantime, Tariq Gill and Mian Tahir Jamil pointed quorum. Treasury, however, managed to complete quorum after 20 minutes.

During the break, the deputy speaker chaired a meeting at his chamber. Minister for Irrigation Mohsan Leghari, Information Minister Samsam Bokhari, PPP’s Makhdoom Usman and DG Research Inayat Ullah attended the meeting. After going through footage and relevant rules, the participants decided to suspend Azma Zahid Bokhari and Rana Abdul Rauf.

Earlier, the opposition expressed reservations about the standing committee’s report on local government act 2019.

PML-N’s Ramzan Bhati questioned approval of bill by the standing committee without voting. He accused the treasury of not giving due rights to the opposition.

Samiullah Niazi said voting for more than 300 sections of the bill was a long exercise. He said that 10 out of 11 members participated in every meeting of the committee. He said that passage of bill in a haste and, that too without voting in the committee would bring a bad name to the government.

Azma Bokhari said that representatives of mayors from across the province had conveyed their reservations to the PA secretary. She said that the bill would have no value if all the stakeholders were not listened and taken on board.

Malik Ahmed Khan said that every head of state had introduced system of his liking since 1961. He said that it was up to the government to bring a new bill or amend the existing one. But, he said, the standing committees have own jurisdiction and specific role which could not be denied. It seemed, he said, the government has made this bill an issue of ego.

Law Minister Raja Basharat said that the bill would be passed at all costs. He said that local government system was part of PTI manifesto and a target of Prime Minister Imran Khan which would be accomplished. On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till Monday (April 29) at 3 pm.