Govt Accused of Mismanagement in Wheat Procurement
Lahore: Opposition members staged a token walkout from the Provincial Assembly on Monday accusing the government of mismanagement in its wheat procurement drive.
The Monday session failed to complete its agenda being adjourned early for lack of quorum. Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal chaired the session that had started with a one-hour delay.
Waseem Akhtar, Ahmed Khan Bhachar and Ahmed Shah Khagga spoke on the problems faced by farmers during the procurement drive.
Akhtar said mismanagement in the purchase of wheat had distressed farmers. He then walked out to press the point. Leader of Opposition Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed followed him saying that it was unfortunate that the government was ignoring the matter. Other opposition members followed them.
The House also debated the death of six children in a fire that had broken out at a house in Shadbagh on Sunday. Opposition members wore black armbands on account of the tragedy.
Rasheed blamed the deaths on poor governance. He requested the speaker to suspend the proceedings and allow the opposition to table a resolution regarding the incident.
Minister for Zakat and Ushr Malik Nadeem Kamran said the chief minister had taken notice of the issue and that a committee had been formed to investigate the matter. He said the committee would submit its report to the assembly.
The question hour featured only one question. Parliamentary Secretary for Irrigation Khalid Mehmood Jajja was criticised over the occupation of agricultural land. Jajja said a summary had been sent to the chief minister to form a taskforce to retrieve the land. He said this could take up to six months.
Mian Tariq Mehmood said it was unfortunate that the Irrigation Department had reported that it could not do anything on its own to recover the land. He demanded that the speaker form a committee to investigate the department’s helplessness. Opposition members backed his stance.
Ehsan Riaz Fatyana accused the government of being non-serious in its responses to parliamentary questions. He also raised the issue of salaries of assembly employees pending since the last session.
Fatayna said Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman had not updated the House on the matter despite having assured the House that he would apprise the members of progress in this regard.
The speaker noted that the finance minister was absent. He asked the zakat and ushr minister if any progress had been made on the matter. The minister said a summary had been sent to the chief minister. He said he could not comment in the absence of the minister concerned.
Slightly over an hour into the proceedings, Sadia Sohail pointed out the quorum. There were nearly 40 members present at the time. The quorum remained incomplete despite five minutes and then 20 minutes being given for members to return.
The treasury thus failed to table two ordinances – the Ghazi University, Dera Ghazi Khan (Amendment) Ordinance, 2015, and the University of Okara Bill, 2015.
The session will resume at 10am on Tuesday (today).
Earlier, talking to the media Rasheed said a judicial inquiry should be ordered into the Shadbagh incident. He said the government was spending billions of rupees on metro buses but had failed to provide emergency services to people.
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