KARACHI, Feb 9: Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Jam Madad Ali criticised the government for what he called broken promises as no opposition member had been selected to sit on the Sindh Coal Authority Board.

Speaking to the press outside the Sindh Assembly building after Monday’s session wrapped up, Jam Madad said that up till Monday morning he was sure that the government would keep its promise.

The house had – earlier during the proceedings – selected four members (all from the treasury) to sit on the board. He said that the senior minister (Pir Mazharul Haq) had made the commitment that Abdul Razzaque Rahimoon, the Pakistan Muslim League-Q’s member from Tharparkar – would be one of the four members nominated to represent legislators on the Sindh Coal Authority Board.

“This is an injustice. In a democracy, everyone has their rights. We are trying to maintain a cordial atmosphere in the house. However, as we are a small opposition, we are being cornered,” Jam Madad told reporters.

When asked why the opposition didn’t raise the issue in the house, Jam Madad Ali replied that the members had raised their hands to be allowed to speak but Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza – who was in the chair – did not take notice of them and adjourned the proceedings. “We wanted to maintain the decorum of the assembly.”

The leader of the opposition also accused the government of waffling on the issue of procuring the damaged paddy crop.

“This issue doesn’t look like it’ll be resolved till the next paddy crop is ready. The Sindh government should provide officers of the food department funds to purchase the paddy. It seems they don’t want to give relief. That’s why they are doing such things. There has been no solution and no conclusion. The issue will keep getting postponed,” he said, in reference to the ongoing debate in the house about the issue of paddy purchase.

He was also critical of the way the issue of live coverage of the assembly’s proceedings was handled by the treasury benches.

“We congratulate the media (on securing the right to live coverage). But there shouldn’t have been any confusion. The PPP claims to be the biggest champion of democracy. Then why the debate? However, it is a good decision … good for the people.”

Accompanied by a few other opposition legislators, he also prayed for the health of senior journalist Sabihuddin Ghausi.

Updated Feb 10, 2009 12:00am

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