Fists, barbs fly in Punjab Assembly
LAHORE, June 21: The adversarial style of women Punjab Assembly members went a step ahead on Thursday as members of either side traded blows and fisticuffs with each other.
Violence broke out when Pakistan Muslim League-Q legislators protested ban on their colleague, Seemal Kamran, from attending the session. They gathered in front of Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal’s rostrum and interrupted the proceedings, when he began proceedings for the approval of the Punjab Finance Bill 2012.
Opposition members of the Pakistan People’s Party also joined the protest and began chanting ‘Lathi goli ki sarkar nahi chale gi’. The fierce protest forced the assembly staff to leave their chairs. Later, these moveable chairs were used as weapons by the members who hurled them at each other.
A PML-N legislator also slapped a PML-Q member. PPP’s Amjad Meo and Sheikh Mumtaz exchanged the fisticuffs for a while.
Amid chaos, the speaker kept on ordering MPAs to behave but no member listened to him. He adjourned the House for 15 minutes.
The speaker had suspended PML-Q’s Seemal Kamran and unification bloc’s Sheikh Allauddin for using derogatory language and hurling shoe on Wednesday.
When the House resumed its proceedings after 45 minutes, Opposition Leader Raja Riaz said the PPP had decided not to observe Benazir Bhutto’s birth anniversary owing to the death of Fauzia Wahab.
He said all parties recognised that Benazir Bhutto had promoted democracy in the country. “The Pakistani institutions are being run democratically just because of the sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto,” he added. For this reason, he said, the PPP had organised a blood camp outside the Punjab Assembly building to ensure that patients in need could regain their lives.Mr Riaz also
condemned derogatory language and shoe hurling in the Punjab Assembly. Later, PPP legislators left the House for a blood camp.
Speaker Rana Iqbal read the amendments and the House passed The Punjab Finance Bill 2012. Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker Rana Mashhood took over and read clause-wise amendments in seven other bills, which were also passed.
The House passed eight bills in total: The Punjab Finance Bill of 2012; The Punjab Sales Tax on Services Bill of 2012; The Punjab Agricultural Universities (Amendment) Bill of 2012; The University of Health Sciences, Lahore (Amendment) Bill of 2012; The King Edward Medical University (Amendment) Bill of 2012; The Punjab Revenue Authority Bill 2012; The Punjab Curriculum Authority Bill of 2012; and The Disposal of Land by Development Authorities (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill of 2012. The schedule of authorised expenditure for the 2012-13 was also laid before the House.
Later, Rana Mashhood adjourned the session till Friday (today) 9am.