LAHORE - The Punjab Assembly on Friday witnessed rare incident of passage of a bill in violation of set tradition of referral to relevant standing committee.

Treasury bulldozed the traditional legislative process to pass The Punjab (Regularization of Service) Bill 2018 to allow regularizing contractual employees working for four years. Despite protest of the opposition, treasury managed to introduce and pass the bill on the same day after suspending Rules of Business and Procedure and ignoring traditions of taking input from relevant standing committee. Opposition members gathered in front of Speakers’ dice, tore away the copies of agenda and threw its pieces towards the chair.

Amid sloganeering from the opposition, the House passed the legislation that would allow regularizing services of thousands of employees working on contract basis. Seven other Bills and an Ordinance were also introduced which were referred to the relevant standing committees for presenting their reports within one month.  The session started one hour and 20 minutes beyond the scheduled time with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal in the chair. On the start of proceeding, PTI’s Shaneela Ruth pointed quorum. As the quorum remained incomplete even after ringing bells for dive minutes, the chair adjourned the session for 20 minutes. On the start of proceedings after 45 minutes, the chair pended Question Hour on Housing and Urban Development till Monday due to absence of minister and parliamentary secretary.  Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed alleged that the hasty legislation was pre-poll rigging. He said that the legislation was aimed at accommodating voters and supporters on government jobs before elections. He said that the bill should have been referred to the relevant standing committee for presenting its report as per the requirements of the Rules of Procedure and the traditions.

PTI’s Mian Aslam Iqbal said the treasury was setting bad precedent of passage of bill on the same day. He accused the government of purchasing voters at the expense of public money, merely few months before the elections. He said that the treasury was employing unconstitutional methods only because of its majority in the House. He alleged that the government would only regularize own voters and ignore all those whom they suspect of supporting the opposition parties.

Rana Sanaullah accused the opposition of opposing the rights of poor employees working on contracts for years.  The government also introduced seven other bills and laid one Ordinance, which the speaker referred to the concerned standing committees for submission of their reports.

On completion of agenda, the chair adjourned the session till Monday at 2pm.

 

 

IQTIDAR GILANI