LAHORE : Opposition legislators walked out of the Punjab Assembly session on Wednesday after a member of the treasury benches called the dances of women PTI supporters at rallies obscene.
The ruckus started after acting speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani called on Rana Jamil Hassan Khan of PML-N to speak during the general discussion on the supplementary budget for FY2017-18.
Rana Jamil, in reaction of PTI legislators who lashed out at the government and its supplementary budget, focused on the dances of PTI’s women supporters. He called them a source of obscenity in society.
The members of the opposition stood up to respond to the derogatory remarks of the MPA. Jamil’s words prompted opposition leader Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed, who was not present at the time, to return to the house.
Rasheed, on his return, said the right to criticise was a part of democracy, but he took great exception to the fact that the treasury MPA used such language against women.
Acting speaker Sardar Sher Ali Gorchani said he had Jamil’s mic switched off and expunged the remarks from Wednesday’s house proceedings.
Rasheed, however, was still not convinced and said the speaker must ask the treasury MPA for an explanation over why women were humiliated in such a manner. He asserted Jamil must apologise or the opposition would walk out of the house.
The opposition finally walked out and MPA Arif Abbasi pointed to the lack of quorum soon after. Proceedings were adjourned for five minutes as the required number of lawmakers was not present on the floor of the assembly. Later, the government succeeded in showing the necessary number of MPAs in the house.
Meanwhile, opposition legislator Muhammad Shoaib Siddiqui delivered a fiery speech during the supplementary budget discussion.
He said a heavy supplementary budget over Rs.1.68billion had been presented, adding the figure was regrettable. The MPA alleged the government was preparing for the upcoming polls by introducing a supplementary budget, which he claimed will be spent on election expenses.
Shedding light on the budget of 2016-2017, he said over Rs420 million had been allocated in 2016-17 for the chief minister’s secretariat, but the amount spent was Rs720 million.
The lawmaker said that at the same time, Rs48 billion had been allocated for the agriculture sector and just Rs34billion were spent. He turned his attention to construction and works, saying Rs 107billion had been allocated and over Rs136 billion spent. He pointed out that this meant surplus expenditure on bridges, roads and the metro train project.
The MPA pointed to the huge gaps allocations and expenditures in the housing and urban development budgets. He highlighted that over Rs 130million had been spent on the CM’s aircraft maintenance. Shoaib stated that up to Rs 2billion were spent for the security of VIPs from UAE who had visited Pakistan. “How about such importance be given to people martyred in bazaars?” Shoaib asked.
On a point of order, PPP legislator Faiza Malik said women MPAs were being intimidated through phone calls. She said “we are being forced to say goodbye to politics.” The acting speaker asked her to move a privilege motion, assuring it would be taken up. The House was adjourned till 2pm on Thursday when Finance Minster Ayesha Ghous Pasha will conclude the general discussion over the supplementary budget.