LAHORE - In an unusual development, the Punjab Assembly session was adjourned for 10 days on Monday. This is the longest a session has been adjourned in the history of the provincial legislature.

The opposition accused the government of taking this unusual step to meet the constitutional requirement of keeping the PA in session for at least 100 days in a parliamentary year, without actually having debate.

The parliamentary year for the existing house begins from August 15. So far it has met for 94 days.

The session started two hours and 10 minutes behind the scheduled time with Mian Muhammad Shafi in the chair.

On completion of the day’s agenda, the chair announced putting off the session till August 7. The opposition strongly protested and asserted that the step was unconstitutional as the proceedings could be put off only for two consecutive days.

PML-N’s Khalil Tahir Sindhu claimed that session was adjourned for August 7 on the direction of “some public relations director”.

Constitutionally, he said, the session could not be put off for more than two consecutive days otherwise a new notification had to be issued for summoning a fresh session.

The chair said that Punjab Assembly’s rules of business do not specify the number of days for adjourning a session. However, a Supreme Court directions bans payment of travelling and daily allowances (TA/DA) to lawmakers if proceedings of an elected house are adjourned for more than two consecutive days.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary Nadeem Qureshi responded to queries of lawmakers during question hour on the information and culture departments.

He told the house that for the promotion of Punjabi language, art and culture, FM radio stations were set up in Rawalpindi and Multan, the scope of which was extended to divisional level.

To a question, he said that the Punjab government has conducted 40 programmes in Sahiwal according to the culture of Punjab. The people of the area took these programmes as entertainment.

He said that the Punjab government has launched a campaign to release artist support funds. Under this campaign, a sum of Rs 5000 per month would be given to each needy artist after registration.