An agitated Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Tuesday assailed Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervez Elahi for delaying the provincial assembly’s session to present the budget.
Speaking to the media outside the assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Hamza said that their party, their allies and the residents of the province have been waiting for hours for the provincial budget and learn what “good news” for them is contained within.
“This drama needs to end now,” he said, adding that the demands of the assembly speaker of presenting the provincial inspector general of police before the house to answer for what happened in the house during the elections of the provincial chief minister were just a ruse to delay matters.
“There are pictures of who was congratulating the outsiders who launched an attack in the assembly and you [Elahi] want to question the IG police,” Hamza asked.
He added that the house, of which Elahi was the speaker, spends millions of taxpayer money every day on carrying out its basic operations. Yesterday, Hamza said, the entire province’s machinery was present and kept waiting for the budget to be presented.
“I went home at midnight,” he said, adding that since morning some 120 million residents of the province have been waiting for the budget.
I came here to give good news to the workers and labourers of the province, he said.
Accusing Elahi and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan of failing to look past their egos, Hamza said, “The person sitting here [Punjab Assembly] is high on his ego and the same is the case of the person sitting in Bani Gala.”
Hamza pointed to the alleged corruption of Imran Khan by referring to the Tosha Khana case and the repatriation of billions of a property tycoon which had been seized in the UK.
“Now if the SC opens its doors at midnight you become perturbed.”
Hamza continued, “Have you ever heard of a chief minister who did not have a cabinet for two months?”
People used to ask me you are giving subsidies worth Rs200 billion on wheat and flour without a cabinet, then I say I am answerable on judgement day.
Punjab Assembly budget session faces delay as opp members stay out
After the scenes yesterday, the budget session of the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday continuously faces delay as the opposition members opt to stay outside.
The budget session was supposed to commence at 1pm today.
According to SAMAA TV’s correspondent Asim Naseer, the lawmakers are not going inside the assembly hall.
He says the bells are ringing for almost an hour now to call them inside, but the members of the opposition seem to lend a deaf ear to it.
The opposition comprising mostly of PTI and PML-Q members has demanded apology from Punjab Police IG and chief secretary for the violence that took place inside the assembly during the election for Punjab chief minister on April 16.
It has also been learned that Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz has not reached the assembly yet.
To end the persisting deadlock, the latest round of talks was held in the speaker’s chamber
A government delegation led by Punjab Law Minister Malik Ahmed met with PML-Q leader Monis Elahi, who is an MNA and son of Speaker Pervaiz Elahi.
The delegation representing the government requested the opposition to let them present the budget and offered to form a committee on the matter.
However, Monis Elahi said he would respond to the government’s request after discussing the matter with the speaker and the opposition leader.
The provincial law minister has also apprised the cabinet about the outcome of the talks.
Session adjourned without budget presentation
For the first time in the province’s history, a Punjab Assembly’s budget session had been adjourned without the presentation of the budget.
Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi adjourned the session till Tuesday 1pm after hours-long deadlock between the government and the opposition, SAMAA TV reported.
The session was scheduled to begin at 2pm Monday. However, before the start, the opposition demanded an apology from Punjab police chief and chief secretary.
The opposition, comprising mostly of PTI and PML-Q members, led by Speaker Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi demanded Punjab Inspector General Rao Sardar Ali and Chief Secretary Kamran Ali Fazal to appear before the opposition lawmakers and tender an apology for the violence that took place inside the assembly during the election for Punjab chief minister on April 16.
The opposition had also demanded quashing of first information reports (FIRs) against opposition leaders.
A meeting of the business advisory committee, comprising government and opposition members, held a moot to reach an agreement, but failed.
After a delay of eight hours, the opposition claimed that the government had accepted their demands and the provincial police chief and the chief secretary would apologise to the lawmakers.
As soon as the proceedings began after lengthy negotiations, they were abruptly halted as Speaker Elahi objected to the presence of PML-N leader Ataullah Tarar inside the hall.
The speaker ordered the assembly’s security to escort Tarar - who is not an assembly member - out of the hall. This led to another face-off between the treasury and the opposition members.
The proceedings were then adjourned for 10minutes on the government’s request for Tarar to leave the house.
After Tarar left the house with his brother Bilal Tarar, the session resumed. However, Elahi once again demanded the chief secretary and the IG to appear before the house, saying that the “under no condition” the budget could be presented without the duo’s apology.
He threatened to adjourn the house if the government did not summon the two officials.
Violence in the assembly
On April 16, unprecedented violence took place inside the assembly as Deputy Speaker Dost Muhammad Mazari chaired the session to elect the CM. The then government members threw lotas at Mazari and encircled him. One of the MPAs pulled his hair and others were seen taking shots at him. As the situation got out of control, Mazari was escorted to his chambers.
Subsequently, slogans were chanted by both the PTI and the PML-N members, while PTI members threw lotas at the opposition benches, leading to open altercations and fights.
To control the situation, a huge contingent of the police, led by Punjab SSP Operations, entered the assembly in civil clothes but later exited the hall after protest from Elahi.
However, the speaker left his seat after he got injured.
Following this, the session was held after the Anti-Riot Force entered the assembly.
The deputy speaker chaired the session on a microphone from his chambers and Hamza Shehbaz was elected as the chief minister.