Lahore, June 21 : Governance seems to be taking a back seat in the Punjab province when it comes to transacting business in the Assembly, as members from almost all political parties gave prominence to their rights and privileges than discussion over the budgetary proposals, here last evening.
As a matter of right, they demanded that when they arrive at the office of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) or the Cabinet Secretary (CS), these officials should come out of their offices to receive them at the gate, because they were "superior to such government officials".
MPA Nazim Hussain Shah said that the MPAs were so privileged that if any legislator wanted to meet the IG or the CS, all he/ she had to do was to give them a phone call. "The IG and CS are bound to receive MPAs by coming out of their offices. They are superior to government officials such as the secretary and deputy secretary. Members were entitled to certain rights," The News quoted him as saying.
He added that according to the Order of Precedent, the government was bound to accommodate MPAs on a priority basis, but they were not given their due rights.
Other MPAs complained about the shortage of residences, saying that they should be given accommodation in five-star hotels instead of three-star ones.
To everyone's amusement, PPP MPA Asifa Farooqi said that if the government did not have accommodation for MPAs, they were ready to stay in the assembly. "The Punjab Assembly has a cafeteria and other facilities, so we can stay here," she said, adding that MPAs could also sleep at the railway station, dine at Data Darbar and Bibi Pak Daman, or at orphanages.
Another female MPA said that although the Chief Minister's Secretariat would be converted into an IT university, the MPAs could reside there as well. "The conversion of the CM's Secretariat will take time, and the MPAs can be accommodated there during that period," she suggested.