LAHORE          -         The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Finance Bill 2020-21 with majority amid slaganeering from the Opposition.

The PA also passed six bills and two resolutions including the one demanding use of words Khatam al-Nabeyyeen ,whenever, the name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is written or read.

The session started more than two hours behind the scheduled time with Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair.

Chief Minister Sardar Usman Bazdar was also present.

Minister for Finance Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the Finance Bill, containing exemptions in GST on services, construction services, property tax, entertainment tax, and introducing a new four per cent tax on ride healing services.

It also amended Stamp Act 1899 to reduce stamp duty from five to one per cent.

Leader of the House, against the tradition, did not address after the approval of the budget.

The assembly also approved extension in the period of three ordinances – Punjab Prevention of Hoarding, Punjab Private Educations Institutions (amendment), and Code of Civil Procedure (amendment) ordinances.

When the resolution to extend the term of the Anti-Hoarding Ordinance was tabled in the House, the Opposition members started chanting slogans in front of the Speaker’s chair, alleging that the procedure was being rigged by not following the rules.

After protest for a while, they boycotted the rest of the proceedings and did not return till the end of the session when the proceedings were put off for Monday afternoon. Interestingly, in another deviance from the traditions none from the Treasury went to call them back.

In the meantime, the government has extended the period of the three ordinances by 90 days.

The House also passed four bills by a majority vote in the absence of the Opposition.

They included Kohsar University Murree Bill 2020, Baba Guru Nanak University Nankana Sahib, Local Government Amendment Bill 2020 and Rural Panchayat and Neighborhood Councils Bill 2020.

Two resolutions were also taken up out of turn, one was presented by MPA Moavia Azam and the other by Neelum Hayat, which were unanimously approved.

The resolution by Ms Hayat demanded legislation to make it mandatory to write or speak the Khatam al-Nabeyyeen alongwith the name of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The Speaker adjourned the sitting till 2pm on Monday (June 29) on the completion of the agenda for the day.