Punjab Assembly Vetos Modi's anti-Pakistan Remark
LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on Wednesday which said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks regarding Pakistan were shameful and unfortunate.
The resolution demanded that the federal government counter India’s aggressive attitude by taking the political leadership into confidence in formulating a national strategy.
Leader of Opposition Mehmoodur Rasheed called on the government to summon the Indian high commissioner and demand an explanation for the remarks. He urged the government to sever diplomatic ties with India as well.
The House also passed two other resolutions condemning atrocities against Muslims in Myanmar and the killing of MPA Chaudhry Shamshad Ahmad Khan and his son.
The session was chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal.
Two bills – the University of Jhang Bill 2015 and the University of Sahiwal Bill 2015 – were passed. The Punjab Institute of Quran and Seerat Studies (Amendment) Ordinance was also laid in the Assembly.
The session was delayed for over two hours because of visually impaired protesters who blocked the main entrance to the Assembly. Lawmakers entered the premises through the alternative gate facing the Wapda House. The entrance to another gate had been blocked by the staff of BOL Television.
MPA Mian Aslam Iqbal moved the resolution against Modi’s remarks. The resolution says India, in terms of its attitude, conspires to destabilise neighbouring countries to achieve its objectives. The resolution calls on the government to expose the true face of the Indian government on international platforms.
An argument broke out between S&GAD Secretary Ali Asghar Manda and the opposition benches during the question hour on the Services and General Administration Department. Opposition members Mian Aslam Iqbal and Ehsan Riaz Fatayna said the secretary had failed to appropriately address their queries. An argument also broke out over the chief minister’s discretionary powers of allotting official residences to government employees not entitled to them. The parliamentary secretary insisted that all discretionary decisions were made according to law. The issue of illegal possession of government residences by former government employees was also raised by Iqbal. Manda said only 11 people had been accorded residence and legal proceedings were underway for some evictions.
Rasheed criticised the Punjab Police for the incidents in Daska and Rawalpindi. He said now the people had to suffer “police-gardi” as well. He said an institution meant to protect the people had become the perpetrator of oppression.
Atif Abbasi and Asif Mehmood expressed serious reservations over the Rawalpindi incident in which two brothers were killed. They said the culprits were still at large. Parliamentary secretary for Information and Culture Rana Arshad said the incident was unfortunate and said those responsible had been arrested.
Rasheed discussed the protest staged by the visually impaired people in front of the Punjab Assembly. He said it was a matter of grave concern that they had been forced to protest on the streets to get their rights. Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar demanded that the government immediately address their concerns.
Minister for Zakat and Ushr Malik Nadeem Kamran said the government was committed to solving the issue and criticised political opponents for politicising it.
As harsh comments flew back and forth, Rasheed said Kamran’s remarks were a cause of humiliation for the House and reflected the government’s mind-set. “Raising a voice for the visually impaired is not politicising the issue. We will continue to raise our voices for the oppressed,” he said.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said the chief minister had instructed them to address all reasonable concerns of the visually impaired.
He said around 900 visually impaired people had been demanding jobs. Most of them were given jobs after they held demonstrations in December last year.
He said since a ban on hiring was in place, the government had decided to hire them on daily wages. He said the government had also promised to increase the job quota to 3 per cent.
He said some of them had been fired recently and others had not yet received their salaries due to a lack of funds.
He said the government had increased allocation for these jobs in the coming budget. Sanaullah said there were 2,900 jobs for the disabled in the government. “They want preferential treatment on the quota because they believe they are more deserving,” he said.
Waseem Akhtar raised the issue of BOL TV employees who were protesting in front of the assembly. He said while the investigations into the Axact scandal must continue, it was unfortunate that BOL employees were suffering.
The session will continue on Thursday at 10am.
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