ISLAMABAD: The lawmakers belonging to opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday created a ruckus in the National Assembly to express solidarity with Afzal Khokhar after the Punjab government demolished his “illegally constructed” Khokhar Palace in Lahore.
Khokhar, a PML-N MNA, while speaking on a privilege motion against Punjab government’s operation against land grabbers in which a huge palace – allegedly built on state land was razed to the ground Wednesday – said that his sister and other women of the family were forcibly expelled from the house.
Speaker National Assembly, Asad Qaiser, who was presiding over the session, did not refer the privilege motion to the privilege committee, and instead reserved his ruling.
The MPs belonging to the PML-N and treasury came face to face with the latter lauding the Punjab government’s operations against land grabbers, while the former terming it political victimisation.
Khokhar said the Lahore administration had stormed his residence late night without any notice and destroyed furniture and other things and demolished his sister’s house.
“They demolished the house despite a court stay order and despite the fact that we’ve been living there for the last 19 years,” he added.
Responding to the privilege motion, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said: “We respect the rights of an MP but we reject this privilege motion”
“The land was recovered as it was occupied by land mafia. Lahore administration conducted the operation in daylight before television channels. The Lahore High Court has disposed of their application,” he added.
He said “we have a list of 10 land mafia groups and they were so powerful that any institution could not have taken action against them,” adding the parliament would not protect the land mafias.
“We have recovered 80 kanals of land worth Rs3 billion in Lahore and 1,000 kanals of land in district Sheikhupura worth Rs70 million. No one is above the law...the nation is watching who is standing with land mafias,” he maintained.
In response, Khokhar said, “I challenge on the floor of the house that we are bona fide purchaser of this land. I would request the speaker to refer the privilege motion to the concerned committee and we will present proof there”.
He said Bani Gala and Zaman Park lands owned by Prime Minister Imran Khan were legalised, but legal properties owned by the political opponents were razed to the ground.
Earlier, harsh words were also exchanged between the NA speaker and PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal.
The speaker reprimanded Iqbal for using derogatory language in the House.
During question-hour, the House was informed that the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) is taking effective measures for removal or blocking of offensive content pertaining to religion and the integrity and defense of the country.
Responding to a question, State Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said the PTA had so far blocked around one million Uniform Resource Locators containing objectionable content.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021