Asghar Khan case: Chair spurns opposition’s call to summon CM
LAHORE, Nov 6: The Punjab Assembly speaker rejected the opposition’s demand for summoning the leader of the house (chief minister) to seek explanation for his naming in the Asghar Khan case.
The demand was made by PPP’s Shaukat Basra when proceedings of second sitting of the house started almost one and a half hours late than its schedule time of 10am.
Basra said on a point of order that names of both Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif were included in the Supreme Court’s interim order in Asghar Khan case, therefore, Shahbaz should appear in the house to explain his position regarding accepting funds from the ISI.
“Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif will surely join the proceedings. But it cannot be said when he will come. Whereas I have no powers to summon him as all the members have equal privilege of joining the proceedings at their convenience,” Rana Muhammad Iqbal said, rejecting the demand.
As the opposition insisted on the demand, parliamentary affairs parliamentary secretary Tahir Khalil Sindhu objected that the business advisory committee’s decision was being violated which had decided to take up the issue in Wednesday’s proceedings and rejected the claims that names of his leaders were mentioned in the court verdict.
Another treasury MPA, Rana Arshad, also began defending his leadership, leading to a chaos in the house.
In the meantime, PPP’s Nargis Faiz Awan pointed out lack of quorum in the house and thus the proceedings were adjourned for tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. The house witnessed low attendance throughout the day as usual, as only six per cent of (22 of total 371) MPAs were present at the outset and eight percent at the adjournment after two-hour sitting.
Earlier, the opposition protested that various departments were not submitting replies to their written questions in-time.
Col (retired) Bashir Awan bemoaned that their queries were pending with various departments for more than three years and replies in many cases were incomplete.
Majida Zaidi and Maj (retired) Abdur Rehman Rana pointed out that replies of 16 out of 27 questions on the day’s agenda failed to extract answers. They regretted that no action against submission of delayed or false information to the house had eroded its authority and credibility.
Taking a notice of it, Rana Iqbal warned all the departments that being the supreme constitutional institution in the province, the house needed to be given complete and in-time answers to written questions. He cautioned that in case of wrong information, the secretary of the relevant department would not be pardoned until and unless the house permitted to do so.
He directed that the secretary and other relevant authorities of the department should be present in the officials’ gallery when questions regarding the department were being taken up by the house.
He rejected Hasan Murtaza’s suggestion that the Question Hour should be started only when secretary of the department concerned is present in the gallery. Four Adjournment Motions were filed regarding the prison and education departments, some of which were disposed of and/or pended till a later date.
Out of a total 27 questions about youth affairs, sports and tourism departments, seven were raised and five were responded to by the parliamentary secretary concerned as the relevant minister was absent from the house. An additional 16 supplementary questions were also asked.
Sixteen Points of Order raised during the sitting consumed 24 minutes.