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LAHORE: As a result of the deadlock between the opposition and treasury benches on the issue of the presence of the Punjab Chief Secretary and Inspector General of Punjab Police in the House, Governor Punjab Muhammad Baligh-ur-Rehman suspends the 40th session of the Punjab Assembly and convened the 41st session of the Punjab Assembly on Wednesday 3 pm at Aiwan e Iqbal.

The deadlock between the Punjab government led by Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supported by Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi entered its second day on Tuesday after both sides failed to reach an agreement.

Earlier, the session of Punjab Assembly started after eight hours under the chairmanship of Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. After recitation of Holy Quran and Naat Sharif, Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi invited Sardar Awais Leghari, Provincial Minister for Finance to present the budget.

Sardar Awais Laghari said that Governor Punjab has called off the session, therefore the proceedings of this session will be illegal and unconstitutional.

On this, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi said that the orders of the Governor have no constitutional status.

Later, the Speaker adjourned the sitting till June 15, 2022 at 1 pm.

A day earlier, the session was supposed to take up the budget for the next fiscal year, but was adjourned after PML-N did not agree to the demand made by the speaker and PTI for the presence of the Punjab Police chief and chief secretary in the house.

The PTI had wanted the IG and the secretary to explain the treatment meted out to PTI workers on May 25 during the long march towards Islamabad. PTI’s Dr Yasmin Rashid had said that her main concerns were about the chief secretary and the IGP. “We will not let the house run until they are called here,” she had said during the budget session.

Speaking to the media on the assembly premises, the chief minister Hamza Shahbaz said the government would present the budget come what may as he called out the speaker and PTI for allegedly disrupting the house proceedings for three months now. The CM said the government wanted to provide relief to 120 million people but the opposition wanted the IG and the chief secretary instead of the budget. CM restated that the government should be allowed to present the budget. They, rather, are demanding that IG police should be subpoenaed. I am sitting here and would wait today again; he added and commented that they are engaged in political manoeuvring. Havoc has been played with the constitution of the largest province of the country, remarked Hamza.

To another question, the CM lamented that the assembly session was summoned and then prorogued. It seems that it is some sort of monarchy, he argued and remarked that the Speaker Punjab assembly was acting like a monarch. Our ministers are making constant demands for the assembly session while they are preoccupied with the memory of the chief secretary and IG police, he said.

Hamza Shahbaz regretted that the media had been restricted in the Punjab assembly and contested who sent goons inside when the deputy speaker chaired the proceeding. It is not a matter of my personality or any sort of ego satisfaction; he added and regretted that the ego of a speaker and one sitting in the Bani Gala has no limits.

Senior Minister Punjab and parliamentary leader Pakistan Peoples Party Syed Hassan Murtaza said that speaker is bound to hold a budget session in accordance with the Constitution.

While responding, to the questions of the media outside the Punjab Assembly Hassan Murtaza said it was the opposition who created deadlock on the presentation of the budget in the House. The government allowed the opposition to speak at the request of the speaker.

“We are political people, the government does not want a deadlock, “ said Murtaza . We ask the opposition to sit with the government. We will talk to the opposition within the constitutional and legal limits. He also said government is moving forward with a prudent mindset.

He further said opposition is creating hurdles not in the way of government by stopping the presentation of the budget but in the way of millions of people of Punjab who will be deprived of provision of basic facilities like health, education and sanitation. He further said that people will be deprived of salaries if the budget is not presented.

The Punjab Assembly Secretariat stopped the journalists from entering the House. The journalists protested outside the Punjab Assembly against the assembly secretariat. The security of the Punjab Assembly also stopped the security of CM at the gate. PPP leader Ali Haider Gilani said that We will not join advisory committee unless journalists are allowed to enter assembly: PPP leader Ali Haider Gilani.

Meanwhile, according to the spokesperson of the Punjab Assembly there is no restriction on the coverage of journalists in the Punjab Assembly. Journalists are still covering the media camp in the Punjab Assembly.

Provincial Minister Sardar Awais Laghari said that Chief Secretary and IG will not come to the House. He said speaker Punjab Assembly Pervez Elahi wants to settle his personal score with IG and Chief Secretary. He questioned what has the IG and Chief Secretary got to do with the budget.

Law Minister Malik Ahmed Khan while talking to the media said that speaker is the custodian of the House. He should be impartial.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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