The provincial Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution praising Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for their role in the ongoing operation against terrorist outfits.

The resolution was tabled by Law Minister Rana Sanaullah. It stated that a second successful operation had been carried out in southern Punjab by the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) in collaboration with the Inter-Services Intelligence, the Military Intelligence and the Intelligence Bureau.

It said that around a dozen most-wanted terrorism suspects were killed in the operation. It said the law enforcement agencies deserved praise for this accomplishment. Sanaullah said such operations were vital for the success of Zarb-i-Azb operation.

During the questions hour, Minister for Excise and Taxation Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman told the House that licences for sale of alcoholic beverages were given only to non-Muslims.

On this, PTI MPA Shunila Ruth said she failed to understand the logic behind allowing only non-Muslims to sell alcoholic beverages. She said sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages were not allowed in any religion. “The government is putting in place a bad practice,” he said. Minorities Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu suggested that a resolution could be tabled in the House to seek measures by the federal government to stop the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Jamaat-i-Islami MPA Dr Waseem Akhtar staged a token walk out from the House on the excise minister’s refusal to entertain his demand that sale of alcoholic beverages be banned in the province. The excise minister had said that the matter fell under the federal government’s jurisdiction.

During general discussion on the performance of the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA), Leader of the Opposition Mahmoodur Rasheed praised the authority’s work and urged that it consider planting saplings of indigenous plant species at green belts across the city. He said the PHA should plant fruit trees along the banks of the Lahore branch canal. He said tree plantation should be ensured along the route of the Orange Line Metro Train, particularly in areas where trees were being cut for construction. Rasheed called upon the government to increase the PHA’s development budget.

Taking a jibe at the presence of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif on the Assembly premises, Rasheed said he was pleased to see so many ministers show up for the proceedings in view of the chief minister’s presence. “It’s okay if the chief minister doesn’t come to the House as long as he sits in his chamber. He should come to the Assembly. This will improve the performance of some departments,” he said.

MPA Waheed Gul demanded that special arrangements be made to ensure safety of those visiting the Lahore Branch Canal for swimming and bathing during summer days.

On completion of the day’s agenda, the session was adjourned till Monday. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif met several MPAs from across the province at his chamber.