Punjab Assembly Speaker Ch Pervaiz Elahi has blamed the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) for an increase in the crime rate across the province, saying the PML-N had imposed a ban on hiring in the police department that resulted in the spike in the crime rate. Elahi said that a ban pertaining to the recruitment of police officers remained imposed in Punjab for the past decade, resulting in a drastic increase in the crime rate. He expressed these views during the question hour regarding the performance of the Home Department. As per the details, a PML-N lawmaker said that a large number of FIRs registration shows that the crime rate has been increased in the province manyfold. Responding to the opposition lawmaker, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Raja Basharat said the number of cases has increased due to the “influence-free policing”. He added during the PML-N era, officials were afraid to register FIRs. “An increase in the number of cases is due to the smooth registration of FIRs,” he said, adding during the PTI government, the police have been working without any political influence. During the session, Elahi said the PML-N didn’t hire new police officers during its tenure as he linked a ban on hiring to the increase in the crime ratio. He said that the Chotu Gang will become more strengthened in the absence of effective policing in the respective areas. According to Elahi, funds were not utilized on police during the PML-N regime; therefore, the army was called in to tame the Chotu Gang. Responding to another query of PML-N MPA Ch. Iftikhar Hussain Chhachhar, the law minister requested the opposition lawmakers to stop asking irrelevant questions during the sessions of Punjab Assembly. The law minister asked the MPA that he contested election in that constituency of Okara and he is unaware about the number of police stations and villages in his area. “Please ask serious or substantial questions which are related to the problems faced by the public,” he retorted. “After a long time, the present government has provided new vehicles to the police,” said the law minister said, adding that more funds have been earmarked in the current budget for setting up 97 new petrol posts across the province. He said that a regular campaign has started across the province for the arrest of proclaimed offenders and Inspector General Police (IGP) has sought reports on regular intervals from all districts regarding the arrest of the POs. He said that action was also being taken against the officers responsible for poor performance. Raja Basharat said that Buzdar government had declared the current fiscal year as the year of construction and repair of police stations, adding that no budget has been allocated for the residences of police officers. Responding to the objection of PML-N MPA Tahir Khalil Sindhu, he said that PML-N leader Attaullah Tarar and his associates stormed a police station and also ripped off the police officials’ uniforms. “This attitude – taking law in one’s hands – should be changed. We have registered a case against those responsible and action will be taken against them according to the law,” he added. As the question-hour ended, an opposition lawmaker pointed out quorum. The government failed to meet the required strength of its MPAs, resulting in adjournment of the session till July 29. The assembly will now meet at 1 pm on Thursday after a break of two days.