In rare show of unanimity, Punjab Assembly passes Punjab Privileges (Amendment) Bill
LAHORE: The treasury and the opposition members of the Punjab Assembly (PA) on Tuesday exhibited rare show of unanimity for the joint cause of their privileges, which is occasionally breached by the powerful bureaucracy in the province.
The assembly also snubbed the governor as it passed the ‘Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Privileges (Amendment) Bill 2021’.
The bill was moved by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) legislator Sajid Ahmed Khan and was initially passed on July 13 but it was later returned by Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar on July 23 under Article 116 of the Constitution.
The bill allows authorities to punish a bureaucrat for breach of privilege of the house or any of its committee or member.
PA Speaker Parvez Elahi, after the passage of the bill said that the members’ privileges bill is a law now nobody should have any misconception about it and no one can stop it now.
“We will not send it back to the governor now for signature instead the House will itself issue gazette notification and it will become a law,” said Elahi, while addressing the session that began after a delay of two hours and 15 minutes.
Sharing the problems faced by him, Speaker Elahi said that only two to three bureaucrats created hurdles in the passage of the bill.
“In the National Assembly, in comparison, bureaucracy immediately obeys the orders of the privileges committee,” he said.
“After the passage of this bill no bureaucrat would have the courage to not listen to the parliamentarians. We will not let bureaucracy do their illegal acts,” said Elahi.
The speaker predicted that the bureaucracy will not like the bill initially but they will get used to it after some time.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza congratulated the whole province after the passage of the bill.
“The province was hostage to one community (bureaucracy) previously but people’s representatives have taken the first step in the right direction for the betterment of the province,” Murtaza said in a confident tone.
“In the past, NAB cases were made against ministers despite the fact that each and every file was moved by the bureaucrats who had ‘clean credentials’,” said the PPP MPA, adding that the bill will stop the forced to change of loyalties.
Murtaza stressed that the country cannot progress till there was civil supremacy and sanctity of parliament in the country.
“I am ready to show my assets likewise the bureaucracy must present its assets before and after assuming their positions. It will clearly depict who are the real thieves and who are responsible for the country’s rising debts,” lashed out Murtaza.
On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MPA Samiullah Khan was of the opinion that Governor Sarwar sent back the bill owing to the “bureaucracy’s pressure”.
After the passage of the bill the speaker adjourned the session till Friday (August 6).
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