LAHORE -  It was a lean day in Punjab Assembly. The attendance was thin. The usual rush in the cafeteria was also missing.

The weather was beautiful after two days of rain.

The heating system in the chamber was perfectly alright, and the cafeteria was even warmer. Some dutiful gentlemen who opted to visit the Assembly in such a fine weather presented a face of surpassing loneliness. A few women legislators turned up to attend the session yesterday. 

But, perhaps, most of the Assembly members were either having indoor parties or went out on picnic to avoid the usual hurly-burly of the House.

Surely, they will be having a longer week-end with Saturday and Sunday being off days.

Nonetheless, the attendance register showed presence of 110 Treasury and 29 Opposition members, a number not visible in the House which lacked quorum throughout the proceedings. The sitting also ended on quorum issue without completing the day’s agenda.

Consistent lackluster response to Assembly business has become a routine matter in the largest provincial legislature which should have been a trend-setter for smaller provinces.

Since the constitution of Assemblies as a result of 2013 elections, lack of quorum in the National and Punjab Assembly has been a big issue for the government despite Prime Minister’s instructions to address it.

On all the occasions of important legislation, the Opposition finds it convenient all the time to point out quorum putting the ruling PML-N on the defensive.

As usual, the Chief Minister did not turn up on Friday also.

Hardly a few Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries graced the sitting which lasted one-and half hours only.

The Speaker had to keep pending at least four adjournment motions on important matters as the concerned Ministers and the Parliamentary Secretaries were not present to respond. This was yet rebuke to the government.

The Chief Whip in the Assembly, Rana Muhammad Arshad, responsible for herding the members into the House seemed helpless as usual.

The Assembly question hour is always an interesting session full of frenzy with members hurling a volley of questions at the nervous Ministers who don’t come prepared in the House. But it also passed without any heated debate.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal had to dispose of most of the questions as the movers were absent.

Even the normal echo of Panama case which dominates rest of the proceedings these days was also not heard yesterday. Taking this issue, it has always been the PTI which creates rumpus on the Assembly floor to embarrass the Treasury side.

After the question hour, Opposition leader Mehmoodur Rashid stood on a point of order but only to condemn the Thursday’s happening in the National Assembly.

The Speaker also joined the condemnation and the issue ended there without involving the government side.