LAHORE - He sat on the Treasury Benches, but acted like an Opposition member. His information about the working of different departments was unquestionable and the government was quite sick of his ‘nasty’ questions.

He would argue with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal quite often complaining about Treasury’s casual treatment of his business and dissatisfactory replies to his questions. But he would not let any opportunity go to embarrass the Ministers even on the questions submitted by his colleagues by asking supplementary questions.

Until a few months back, when he was an ordinary member of the House, he would take provincial authorities to task on different issues, sometimes on point of order, at times through tricky questions in the question hour.

But the most lethal weapon the legislator from Kasur would often use was his ability to flatten the government through his adjournment motions. He would leave the concerned Ministers answerless most of the times.

His endless adjournment motions on varying subjects would find their way on the Asembly agenda every other day.

It would not be unfair to state that his record of keeping the government on its toes was even better than the entire Opposition.

But the newly inducted Punjab Minister for Industries, Trade and Investment, Sheikh Alauddin is a different person now. In his new role, he has to defend the government like other Ministers.

On Thursday, it was his maiden appearance as Minister on the Assembly floor. Though he cleverly dodged some questions but he could not escape the taunt coming from the Opposition benches.

“Sheikh sab has been the most informed person [in the House] before taking oath [as Minister]…..and now he knows nothing about his department”, PPP’s Faiza Malik took jibe at the Minister when he failed to provide the information she sought about an engineering institute under his department.

Sheikh Alauddin also could not give a satisfactory answer to a supplementary question by PTI’s Raheela Anwar who wanted to know details about the closed factories in Jhelum district.

According to him, this information made a fresh question which had not been asked in the first one. Previously, Alauddin expected the Ministers to know each and everything about their departments.

The second part of Thursday’s Assembly sitting was full of the usual hullabaloo. Following a smooth question hour and two days of lull in the House, the legislators on both sides of the aisle looked like a crowd of angry protesters disgracing each other’s leadership.

The issue was PTI’s reference sent to the Speaker last week seeking disqualification of the Punjab Chief Minister.

When the Speaker announced pending the adjournment motions till arrival of the Law Minister, Opposition leader Mehmoodur Rashid took the opportunity to score a political point.

As the Speaker did not allow him to speak any further, the PTI members gathered close to his podium to perform the ritual of sloganeering as they do always do on the Assembly floor.

The Opposition’s protest inside the Assembly exposed disunity among their ranks. It also proved as true the oft-repeated accusation from the PPP and other Opposition parties that the PTI had the tendency to take a solo flight on important issues.

Though the PPP lawmaker Faiza Malik, the only party representative present at that time, sided with the PTI, the PML-Q’s Khadija Omer did not join the two parties.

When the Law Minister arrived and the Speaker finally started taking up adjournment motions, he called out Khadija’s name whose adjournment motion was also on the agenda.

Unmindful of Opposition’s protest, she started reading out her motion under the gaze of Opposition members. It was quite embarrassing for the PTI whose leadership did not even bother to take her on board about their planned move on the Assembly floor.