Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Treasury fails to woo Opposition, Boycott of assembly continues

Wednesday, July 01, 2009
DEADLOCK between the treasury and the opposition persisted over the manhandling of the PML-Q woman members on Tuesday as the opposition insisted to continue boycott of the Punjab Assembly unless action was taken against Prisons Minister Chaudhry Abdul Ghafoor.
However, the treasury members urged the opposition to end the boycott of the assembly proceedings and both the sides would hold dialogue on the issue once again on Wednesday (today) before the beginning of assembly session. On Tuesday, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana Muhammed Iqbal, Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood Ahmed and a group of treasury members, comprising Senior Minister Riaz Ahmed, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan, Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, held a meeting with the PML-Q leaders Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, Chaudhry Moonis Elahi and Sher Ali Khan to diffuse the tension.
Sources stated that members from the ruling parties urged the opposition to end the boycott of the assembly while the opposition members demanded the immediate suspension of Chaudhry Ghafoor’s membership, asking the treasury to play an impartial role in the matter. Talking to the media after the parliamentary meeting of PML-Q, opposition leaders in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Zaheeruddin and Moonis Elahi said the opposition would not attend the assembly session until the Speaker announced action against Chaudhry Ghafoor.
They said the N-League MPAs resorted to hooliganism in the Punjab Assembly and attacked women MPAs to divert the public attention from the faulty budget and the Kharif water fiasco. Chaudhry Zaheer said it was up to the Speaker whether he wanted to run the house according to rules or turn it into a wrestling arena.
Speaking on the occasion, Moonis Elahi said the assembly record bore testimony to the opposition’s principled stand on various issues. He said the opposition had put all its questions in the house on the basis of credible facts and figures in the current budget session. He condemned the non-parliamentary and unruly behaviour of the treasury members, which included hurling books and abuses at the women legislators belonging to the opposition.
He said “undemocratic and unruly” of N-league was responsible for the derailment of democracy in the past and that the N league MPAs had once again demonstrated their inability to learn from their past blunders. PML-Q MPAs, including Mohsin Leghari, Sher Ali and Mian Shafi, said the unruly behaviour of the N-league MPAs was meant to block the opposition from producing documentary evidence of Shahbaz government’s incapability in handling the recent Kharif water crisis and their un-parliamentary behaviour on Monday was a part of the plan.
The PML-Q parliamentary meeting was attended by PML-Q senior leader Hamid Nasir Chattha, Khurram Nawab, Col (Retd) Abbas Chaudhry, Malik Iqbal Langrial, Khalid Asghar Ghurral, Shafique Khan and Amir Sultan Cheema.On the other hand, the members of ruling parties stated that opposition must give up its demand for action against the prisons minister and held the view if any action was sought against the Minister, the opposition woman member involved in the incident, displaying banner against the chief minister, should also be treated in the same manner.
Sources stated that opposition did not endorse the act of its woman member of displaying the banner but still insisted that membership of prisons minister should be suspended as his offence was of comparatively a grave nature. Nevertheless, both sides failed to develop consensus on the issue and the matter was left unresolved for the next meeting on Wednesday.