LAHORE - Visibly perturbed over Opposition’s pointing out of quorum during Monday’s sitting of Punjab Assembly, Law Minister Rana Sana not only left the House, but also went to Speaker’s podium and whispered in his ears to adjourn the session till Tuesday because Treasury did not have enough number of members at that time to complete the quorum.  

This was for the second time that law minister walked out of the House in protest against Opposition’s pointing out of quorum and did not make any effort to make it quorate as per parliamentary traditions. The law minister also did the same last week and the Speaker had to adjourn the House without completing the agenda. While it is Opposition’s right to point out lack of quorum in the House, it is always responsibility of the Treasury to complete it, especially during a session convened by the Government.

It happened when the House was having general discussion on availability of fertilizer in the province. Sh Alauddin was presenting government’s point of view on the issue when Samina Khawar Hayat of PML-Q drew Chair’s attention towards an inquorate House. Instead of bringing treasury members inside the chamber to complete the quorum, the law minister left the house and others followed him. The Speaker went through the usual ritual of asking for ringing of bells for five minutes to attract the members, and later adjourned the House when many did not pay heed to his call. In fact, not many members were left in the Assembly by that time to listen to the bells and return to the House.

It is a usual practice in Assembly that Speaker adjourns the House for 20 or 30 minutes to give more time to the Treasury to complete the Quorum apart from the initial five minutes. But the Speaker did not do so on Monday as per law minister’s advice and knowing that not much members were left in the Assembly at that point of time to maintain the quorum. Earlier, while taking part in the debate, the opposition members held Punjab government responsible for shortage of fertilizer in the province.

Muhammad Rafique and Sh Alauddin spoke on the issue from treasury benches. While the opposition members held Punjab government responsible for hoarding and black-marketing of fertilizer in the province, the treasury members laid the blame on federal government. Seemal protested that Rs 1600 subsidy given by the federal government on one bag of fertilizer was not reaching the farmers due to black-marketing of the commodity. Naulatia said the country was facing 15 to 17 lakh tones shortage of fertilizer due to reduced supply of gas to manufacturers.