Islamabad: The constitutional crisis related to the holding of the Punjab Assembly session is further deepened as the panel of chairmen directed four senior assembly secretariat officers to immediately report at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, where the budget session has been underway since June 14, Dawn reported on Monday.
“Special Secretary Ali Imran Rizvi, Chief Security Officer Akbar Nasir, Chief Reporter Umar Daraz and Director Estate Asim Cheema have been ordered to immediately report at the Aiwan-i-Iqbal, where the constitutional session of the Punjab Assembly is going on, and reporting there is their legal responsibility,” Khalil Tahir Sindhu, one of the four members of the panel of chairmen directed them.
“In case of non-compliance, you would be dealt with in accordance with the law,” warned Sindhu, who is presiding over the session in the absence of the speaker and deputy speakers.
Amer Habib, the special secretary working as acting assembly secretary on the directive of the high-ups of the Punjab law department, which under an ordinance promulgated by the governor had withdrawn powers of the assembly secretary in administrative affairs, had issued similar directives to the heads of legislation, reporting, estate and security wings of the assembly to report at Aiwan-i-Iqbal on Saturday, but the officers concerned reportedly declined to comply with the orders.
However, assembly secretary Mohammad Khan Bhatti, handpicked for the job by Speaker Parvez Elahi, said the fresh orders carried no legal weight in the presence of the speaker.
The crisis in holding the Punjab assembly session started when Speaker Elahi for two days did not ask the treasury to present the provincial budget in the 40th session of the house, demanding that the cases be registered against the PTI leaders during the May 25 long march be withdrawn first.
On the night of the second day when all government efforts failed to reach an understanding with the speaker and opposition PTI leadership, Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman issued orders for proroguing the session, promulgated an ordinance withdrawing certain powers of the speaker and assembly secretary, and summoned a new session at Aiwan-i-Iqbal instead of the assembly chambers to present the provincial budget next day.