LAHORE - Opposition in the Punjab Assembly yesterday staged token walk out from the Assembly to register protest over what it called target killings in Punjab.  

Speaking on point of order, Opposition Leader Mehmoodur Rashid questioned the law and order situation in Punjab while referring to the killing of Mirza Tanvir, a complaint in the murder case of two PTI workers. He also mentioned the murder of Advocate Nasir Turrabi who was assisting PPP’s Sardar Latif Khosa in model Ayyan Ali case.

Rashid told the House that Mirza Tanvir was facing life threats from his opponents who wanted him to withdraw the case. But he was not provided security despite repeated assurances, he added.

“IF there are target killings in Karachi, Rangers are called in to control the situation. But in a similar situation in Punjab, there is no need for Rangers to come”, he remarked. He cast aspersions on the law and order situation in Punjab, saying that killers of Mirza Tanvir have not been arrested after 24 hours of the incident.

Rashid later led a token walk out from the Assembly. However, the opposition members rejoined the proceedings after the Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal asked two ministers to bring them back.

Responding to the assertions made by the opposition leader, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah termed the murder of Mirza Tanvir an outcome of personal enmity between two rival groups who had a clash in the last local bodies’ elections. He accused the opposition leader of giving the incident a political coloring. Law Minister also asked the opposition leader to bring call attention notices into the House over the two incidents.

In a rare incident in the Assembly, the Treasury had to seek the help of the Opposition to maintain quorum in the House. PTI’s Arif Abbasi pointed out lack of quorum when the House was taking up call attention notices. The Speaker ordered ringing of bells for five minutes, but there were no signs of Treasury bringing the required number of MPAs into the House.  In the meanwhile, Rana Arshad of the PML-N went to the opposition’s lobby and requested the opposition leader to join the proceedings. It is customary that opposition members leave the House after pointing out lack of quorum to put the treasury into trouble. Rana returned successful as the Opposition to agreed to take part in the remaining assembly business.

Through a resolution, passed unanimously by the Treasury and the Opposition, the Assembly termed the Quetta incident a national tragedy in which over 70 people lost their lives and scores of others got serious injuries. It also described it a coward attempt by the terrorists who should be brought to justice. The resolution also wished victory for the armed forces struggling to curb the menace of terrorism.

Through another resolution, the Assembly paid tributes to great social worker, Abdus Sattar Edhi lauding his social services for the humanity. “Late Edhi earned international acclaim and recognition for his social work and was honored with several meddles. It is hoped that Edhi Foundation will continue his mission”, it further said. 

Earlier, during the question hour, PML-N’s Amjad Ali Javid questioned the utility of financial aid given to deserving parents to meet marriage expenses of their daughters. To a question put by Mr Amjad Ali, the parliamentary secretary for Baitul Maal told the House that official grant for marriage is given to parents on production of Nikkah Naama after the marriage had been contracted to avoid misuse of this facility. Amjad insisted that government should end this provision if the financial aid reaches the poor families after the marriage. But he got no answer from the parliamentary secretary.

Also, Dr Farzana Nazir of the PML-N created a scene in the Assembly by accusing the Opposition of not raising the voice of Kashmiris. The opposition members responded back by chanting the slogan: “Moodi ka jo yaar hai ghuddar hai ghuddar hai”. This created pandemonium in the House for few minutes as the two sides exchanged sloganeering against each others’ leadership.