Punjab budget to be approved smoothly: Raja Basharat

Amraiz Khan

Minister for Law and Cooperatives Raja Basharat has said that ninety-nine percent members of the Jahangir Tareen and like-minded groups have had individual meetings with the Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, so there will be no difficulty in approving
the Punjab budget.

He was addressing a reception for the newly elected officials of the Punjab Assembly Press Gallery.

He congratulated the newly elected President Afzal Talib, Secretary Abbas Naqvi and other officials and said that the tradition of cordial relations between the government and the press would continue in the House.

The Law Minister said that the PTI government had done its best to fulfill the vision of the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister during the last three years and the government had never faced any embarrassment in the matter of the Assembly business that had passed record 83 bills
while that number could increase if Covid 19 hadn’t come.

Raja Basharat sharply criticized the attitude of the opposition and said that the role of the opposition on legislation was mostly negative.

“We gave a lot of opportunities to the Leader of the Opposition, as in last ten years, the production order was not amended as we did because Hamza Shahbaz had to be brought on the production order but Hamza Shahbaz would come, sit in the chamber and go back.

He didn’t bother to benefit his people from this activity.” Raja said that Hamza Shahbaz came out of jail but did not come to the assembly.

Rejecting the criticism of the opposition, Raja Basharat said that Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was taking the assembly proceedings in
accordance with the rules, which was why the opposition did not challenge our legislation in any court so far.

The law minister said that the role of the opposition was negligible in the standing committee number one but the opposition did not boycott the other committees and its members attended all the standing committees’ meetings.

He invited the opposition to play its constitutional and active role in the committees.

Raja Basharat said that in the last ten years, the work done by Pervez Elahi to empower the committees was unprecedented. He said that the Assembly and the Law Department were setting up a research wing where legal experts and researchers would
work on legislation.

He lamented that “the departments make laws but do not make regulations for many years but now we have obliged the departments to make the rules mandatory within six months after making the law.”

Raja Basharat said that they had changed the centuries old laws according to the present needs which had not happened before. He said, “The Prisons Act 1894 and the Cooperatives Act 1925 and others have been updated.

Through the Succession Act 2021, the transfer of inherited property will now be easier from NADRA instead of the court where it was much delayed.”

He further said that Hamza Shahbaz was being given the tasks beyond his powers, sometimes to overthrow the government and sometimes another
mission impossible.

Raja Basharat, while describing the performance of the department of cooperatives during his tenure ie last six months, said that the Punjab Liquidation Board had relinquished possession of property worth Rs 3 billion including
thousands of kanals of valuable land in Thokar, Bedian Road, Ferozepur Road, Murree and Pindi.

He said that at present Rs. 80 crore was due to the account holders for which they are ready to pay as Five billion cash was available with the Board.

He said that the department had banned the registration of new private housing societies in cooperatives and has shifted its focus towards agricultural development.

“Punjab Cooperatives Bank used to pay penalty to SBP every year for not having a permanent president.

But now, there will be no such payments as the permanent president will be appointed soon,” He assured.