LAHORE - It takes a great deal of patience to watch the monotonous proceedings of the Punjab Assembly while sitting in the Press Gallery.

Punjab lawmakers are genuinely taxing the patience of reporters especially for the last couple of days by repeating the same old stories of their concern.

Had it not been occasional short ‘skirmishes’ between the Treasury and Opposition members, it would have been really hard to go through with the entire proceeding. 

PPP’s Parliamentary Leader in Punjab Assembly Syed Hasan Murtaza was the first one to break the monotony on the fourth day of the general discussion on provincial budget. He took jibes at the Treasury by his commendation of Chief Minister’s spokesperson Shahbaz Gill, who, he insisted, was the only person performing extremely well in the entire team of the PTI.

The comment brought smile on Gill’s face, but the expressions on the faces of Treasury members were that of discomfort. The clever legislator from Chiniot passed these remarks with the obvious intent of creating jealousies in the PTI’s ranks and file.

Gill is sitting in the official gallery for the last couple of days to watch the Assembly proceedings during the time when his boss is busy meeting the party legislators in his Assembly chambers.  

PML-N members had on Wednesday objected to Gill’s presence in the official gallery when he reportedly did clapping over a speech by a PTI legislator.

Also, a brief spell of arguments between Law Minister Muhammad Basharat Raja and Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman of the PML-N provided a kind of solace in the, otherwise, dull proceedings of the House.

Leaving aside the actual facts, Law Minister won the argument by establishing the point that it was Nawaz Sharif himself who decided the matter about whom he wanted to meet in prison on a particular day.

Mujtaba Shuja and Hina Pervaiz Butt had earlier complained to the Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari that government had denied them permission to meet their leader in Kot Lakhpat jail. Aisha Nawaz of the PTI later also shouted taunts at the PML-N members over the issue. “Please don’t blame the government if your leader does not want to see you [in jail]”, she said.

Away from the boring House proceedings, the hustle and bustle of the Assembly lobbies has become more eye-catching these days.

Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has started coming to the Assembly to meet the party lawmakers. Yesterday, he met Assembly members from Rawalpindi division to listen to their grievances.

Chief Secretary, ACS, concerned Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners also sit with him for immediate resolution of their problems.

This temporary arrangement has been done under a political compulsion. The Assembly is going to start voting on the provincial budget from coming Monday and the ruling party needs to placate the disgruntled members which are many in number. PTI will have to ensure the presence of maximum number of its legislator in the coming days to avoid any embarrassing situation in the House.

Though the ruling alliance has the required number of members to pass the budget, yet their continuous presence is important.

The numbers become crucial in a situation when the Opposition challenges the voice vote any time during department-wise approval of the budget.

Opposition’s cut motion would be carried if the Treasury fails to prove simple majority of the members preset at a particular time.