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Punjab Assembly quorum woes `Disgruntled` treasury members absent from House

By Zulqernain Tahir 2016-12-06
LAHORE: The ruling party has been facing problems in maintaining quorum in the Punjab Assembly as many treasury members have stopped turning up to the House for apparently being ignored since Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif inducted a dozen ministers and five advisers and special assistants to the Punjab cabinet on Nov 27.

A few PML-N legislators Dawn spoke to after the session onMonday cited dejection of several aspirants for ministries and advisers` posts as one of the reasons behind thin attendance oftreasury members.

`Many aspirants of ministries are dejected and stopped visiting the Punjab Assembly after the chief minister preferred others over them,` a ruling party MPA said.

Quoting some lawmakers, he said they thought they would not be ignored. `The chief minister could have sent some of the ministers home over their poor three-year performances and appointed others,` he said.

Some of the disgruntled legislators were of the view that the chief minister should have at least included them as advisers or special assistants, he said. `We faced embarrassment in our circles for being ignored, as people say we could not even make a place in the extended provincial cabinet,` a legislator said.

Another treasury member said extension of the cabinet had aggravated the grievances of his colleagues who often complained thebureaucracy and police did not listen to them regarding problems of their electorates.

`Our electorates mock us when their matters remain unsolved because of indifference of civil servants and police,` he said, requesting the chief minister to restore the dignity of the treasury members.

Interestingly, some of the new ministers are also not happy for not getting portfolios of their choice.

On Monday, the treasury failed to maintain quorum for the sixth time in a week. The speaker pro-rogued the session indefinitely after an opposition member pointed out quorum.

Pakistan Tehreelei-Insaf MPA Shoaib Siddiqui pointed out that when the people of his constituency started installing water filtration plants on their own, the district administration and railways authorities stopped them at the behest of Railways Minister Saad Rafique and National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, he alleged.

The speaker asked him to submit a written complaint.