KARACHI, June 11: The provincial assembly on Tuesday seeking Sindh due share of water called for immediate closure of Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad link canals and with equal thrust condemned the statement of chairman standing committee of senate on water and power about discontinuing the power supply to Karachi from the national grid.
The house, which met for the first time in its history on a private members’ day, also recommended to the Sindh government to make DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) test mandatory in all rape cases and also bear its cost where the victim cannot afford it.
Attempts were also made to raise the law and order issue through a point of order by lawmakers Javed Nagori and Nusrat Sehar Abbasi but it could not be taken up as the house was focused on the water and power crises.
The assembly session began today with Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza in the chair and it was prorogued by the order of Acting Governor Agha Siraj Durrani after completion of the business from the order of the day.
All the three issues, which were taken up separately in the form of private resolutions, witnessed hard hitting speeches with a different degree of emphasis from the lawmakers across the house, when put to vote were unanimously passed.
Most of the time of today’s session, which lasted three and a half hours from 4.15pm to 7.45pm, except the announcement of the assent given by the governor of 25 bills and laying of four ordinances, was consumed highlighting the grave situation created from the water shortage and the immense concern shown by the house over the move of the chairman of the senate standing committee on water and power.
The attention of the house about gravity of water shortage in the river Indus was initially drawn by lawmaker Mir Allah Bux Talpur through his point of order by pointing out that a sit-in over water shortage had been on for the past couple of days in Badin. He said all water channels were damaged and there was no water in watercourses.
The chair advised the lawmakers to raise the issue by tabling their motion in writing to the chair quoting from the rules of business. Shortly afterwards, the resolutions were moved by the legislators under the rule 211.
On the water resolution, which was moved by lawmaker Jam Khan Shoro and endorsed by lawmaker Heer Soho, the treasury members said that although the canals were built to carry out water when there was flood in the Indus and after meeting the needs of Sindh but this condition was not met and water was being diverted to fill Mangla dam at the cost of Sindh.
The members of the opposition benches also endorsing the resolution called upon the government to ensure that water reached to tail-enders. The lawmakers who forcefully taken up the case included Senior Minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Law Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro, Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh, Taimour Talpur, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Mehtab Rashdi, Heer Soho and Ashfaq Mangi.
They also stressed the need to stop water theft through unlawful watercourses.
Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who was present in the house, responding to the water issue said the government had lodged its protest with the Indus River System Authority. He asked the lawmakers belonging to the party in power in the Centre and Punjab to ensure closure of the Chashma-Jhelum and Taunsa-Panjnad link canals.He informed the house that water would take at least a week in reaching to water channels if it had been released into in the system.
Nisar Khuhro said there was no mention of providing water to the CJ and TP canals in the 1919 water accord. He assured the house that if the canals were not closed immediately, the entire Sindh would protest to safeguard its interest.
The issue of senate committee chairman’s statement was initiated by Hafeezuddin who moved an adjournment motion and demanded discussion on this important issue. But as the rules and documents were not attached with the motion, the chair ruled it out of order on technical grounds. He said that the KESC was purchasing electricity from national grid after paying Rs4 and some pasias per unit but charging much more and this issue ought to be brought into the notice of people.
MQM’s Syed Faisal Sabzwari, who was formally allotted the seat of opposition on Tuesday, said if the motion could not be taken on technical ground, he would request leader of the house to take up it at the proper forum as it was not the issue of 120 million people of Karachi or of the provincial capital but economic wean of the country.
The KESC was being provided 650mw under an agreement until 2015, he said.
He added industries and business was already facing many issues and problems, the withdrawal of 650mw would further complicate the situation. He said Karachi contributed 67 per cent revenue and if the industries would suffer how would te revenue be generated.
The chief minister said power supply was a very important matter that was also taken up by the last government. Under an agreement between the KESC and the federal government, he said 71per cent gas quota was provided by Sindh for the entire country while it was consuming only 27 per cent gas. He said it was also moved in the Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting to reduce KESC quota to meet the requirement of Punjab.
Mr Shah said that the resolution would strengthen the hands of the Sindh government to agitate on the issue in CCI.
Later, the resolution was moved by lawmaker Syed Khalid Ahmad. It said: “This house strongly condemns the statement of chairman Standing Committee of Senate on water and power to discontinue the electricity supply to Karachi city from national grid”.
The resolution was endorsed by law minister Dr Siknader Mandhro.
The resolution regarding DNA tests, which was moved by Sharmila Farooqui, was passed unanimously. It said, “This assembly recommends to the government of Sindh to mandate administration of DNA tests and preservation of DNA evidence in all rape cases in accordance with the judgement of the Supreme Court dated 2.10.2012.
“The Government of Sindh also bear the cost of DNA test in all such cases where the victim is not in financial position to do so.”
The resolution was also supported by Bilqees Mukhtar, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Aamir Moin Pirzada, Taimoor Talpur and others demanding not only stringent sentences but also suggested that the government allocate funds for setting up a laboratory in Sindh for DNA tests.