LAHORE: Provincial Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering (HUD&PHE) Syed Haroon Bukhari yet again excused himself from the question hour in the ongoing session of the Provincial Assembly on Friday. It was the third such occasion during this parliamentary year when the minister skipped the question hour, leaving Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan with little choice but to append relevant questions for some other day. The House was told that Haroon Bukhari was not well and he fell sick just before start of the session at 830am. The speaker said that he had received a request from the personal secretary of the minister to append queries pertaining to his ministry to the next question hour. Earlier on one occasion, Zakat and Ushr minister Nadeem Kamran took questions related to Bukhari’s ministry in the latter’s absence. On another occasion, the day’s agenda was amended on Bukhari’s request. Punjab Assembly Secretariat sources told Daily Times that when Bukhari’s request was conveyed to the speaker on Friday, he expressed displeasure and asked that the request be submitted in writing. In the session, some opposition lawmakers asked the speaker to fix a date and time for questions related to Bukhari’s ministry, but he proceeded without specifying a date or time. Bukhari has been avoiding sessions where affairs related his ministry are scheduled in the question hour since the session where he was censured by women lawmakers from both benches for passing an inappropriate remark in response to treasury lawmaker Nighat Sheikh’s query. Later, the minister apologised to the House, saying that he regretted his remarks and felt embarrassed whenever he appeared in front of his family members or girl students of the madrassa operating under his patronage inside his residential compound. Friday’s session started with a delay of almost two hours from its scheduled time of 9am. After the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran and of a naat, the speaker made the announcement regarding the question hour and later adopted government business, taking up adjournment motions later. Finance Minister Aisha Ghos Pasha laid three reports before the House. These were the Audit Report on the Accounts of Communications and Works, Irrigation, and HUD&PHE Departments, Daanish Schools and Centres of Excellence Authority and Cholistan Development Authority for the year 2015-16; Audit Report on the Accounts of Government of the Punjab for 2016-17; and Audit Report on the Accounts of Revenue Receipts, Government of the Punjab, for 2015-16. During the discussion on adjournment motions, treasury lawmaker Malik Arshad sought permission of the House for extension of another two months for tabling the report of the Standing Committee for Food on a special question. The speaker said that he should avoid seeking extensions. In response, he said that the department concerned was not cooperating with the committee and requested the speaker to direct the department to cooperate with them for timely completion of the reports. The chair said that a written complaint should be submitted for the purpose. After completing the agenda for the day, the speaker adjourned the session till 2pm on Monday. Published in Daily Times, February 3rd 2018.