Sugar factories control, other bills passed in contravention of rules.

LAHORE -- The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the Sugar Factories (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2021 and five other bills bulldozing all rules of procedure and conventions amid protest by the opposition.

The chair being held by Panel of Chairman Mian Muhammad Shafi, in a rare move suspended the rules pertaining to taking up Question Hour and followed by Zero Hour immediately after recitation from the Quran and Na'at at the initiation of the house proceedings, and allowed the law minister to move and get passed six draft laws and introduce two more bills.

The bills passed were the Sugar Factories (Control) (Amendment) Bill 2021, the Companies Profits (Workers' Participation)(Amendment) Bill 2020, the Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission Bill 2020, the Punjab Apprenticeship Bill 2021, the Punjab Educational Institutions (Reconstitution) Bill 2021, and the University of Child Health Sciences, Lahore Bill 2021.

The newly introduced bills were the Punjab Home-Based Workers Bill 2021, and the Punjab Shops and Establishments (Amendment) Bill 2021.

Like on May 4, when the Sugar Factories Bill 2021 had been passed without circulating its draft among the lawmakers or Press Gallery members, none of the bills passed today were circulated in the house.

The government kept the matters so secret that the agenda for the day was issued well after 9am, the time for starting house proceedings on Fridays. As per parliamentary convention, the agenda is released a day before so that legislators may come prepared accordingly.

Contrary to the Rule 5(1) of the Rules of Procedure, the chair also ignored the lack of quorum pointed out by the opposition, which was trying to use the ploy to delay the legislation for another day. The rush and secrecy shown by the government in getting the bills passed raised concerns among many who smell a rat particularly in the one...

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