LAHORE: Special Assistant to Chief Minister and Chief Whip of the ruling party-the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N)-in Punjab Assembly Rana Arshad has imposed a ban on taking attendance of any legislator including ministers, parliamentary secretaries and opposition members who do not reach in time.
This rule will not apply to Shahbaz Sharif as he has discretionary power to attend the session. On the objection of the opposition benches about the CM’s absence, Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Iqbal Khan has already defined that joining the assembly is the CM’s personal choice.
The Punjab government of the PML-N is facing a serious crisis regarding completion of the quorum in the Punjab Assembly despite having more than two-third majority in the House. The opposition is using the lack of interest of the treasury members to point out the quorum from time to time to embarrass the government.
During the Tuesday session, the situation was the same and only 64 members were present in the House. Therefore, opposition member Ahsan Riaz Fatiyana pointed out the quorum and the treasury failed to complete it. Later the Speaker announced that the session would be adjourned till the next day despite the agenda being left incomplete.
Earlier when the session started, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) backed the Opposition Leader in the House Mian Mehmood ur Rasheed on a point of order raised regarding the lack of interest of treasury members in the proceedings of the Assembly and criticised Rana Arshad for not fulfilling the required numbers of the legislators from his party to complete the quorum.
Rana Arshad, despite the opposition leader’s remarks about him, remained calm in his seat and also did not make any effort to complete the quorum. But he said that he would not allow any member including any minister, parliamentary secretary or even any opposition member to mark his attendance after the session and would also withdraw the attendance register from the reception and lobby.
Rana Arshad further stated that no TADA (Travelling Allowance and Daily Allowance) would be paid to the absentee legislators, parliamentary secretaries and ministers if they arrived in the assembly secretariat after session hours.
Suggesting that the parliamentary secretaries join the assembly sessions regularly in future, the PML-N Chief Whip said that he would recommend to the Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif directly to get rid of those who remain absent for three consecutive days from the assembly proceedings.
Hopefully, the attendance of the legislators from both the sides-treasury and opposition benches-would improve after such warnings of the Chief Whip of the PML-N, who has a principle duty to maintain discipline in the House, especially from his ruling party and its members.