KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday stressed the need to carry out an indiscriminate operation across the province to recover illegal weapons before asking people to surrender their licensed weapons.
Delivering speeches on a resolution tabled by Syed Bachal Shah of the Pakistan Peoples Party, over one-and-a-half dozen lawmakers across the floor said that law and order would improve only if the rule of law was ensured in the province and postings of police officials were made on merit.
Apologising to the others who were not allowed to speak for want of time, when Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro put the resolution to the vote, it was unanimously adopted.
The resolution reads: “This assembly resolves that the provincial government ensure law and order in the province, and de-weaponize the province from illegal weapons.”
Earlier winding up the discussion, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said terrorism was the gift of military dictators and said “we all are responsible for this mess”.
PPP Parliamentary Party leader Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq said the law and order situation worsened during weak governments due to patronisation of certain elements to get their support. Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Jam Madad Ali said the need for tabling the resolution was felt because laws of the land were not being implemented and crime was on the rise thanks to posting of police officials on the basis of liking and disliking.
He said until police officials were made accountable for crimes in their jurisdiction, and licences for weapons in large numbers continued to be issued without proper investigation of the applicants, one could not expect improvement in the situation.
MQM Parliamentary Party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad said there was no need for any law to recover illegal weapons. He said peace could be restored only after de-weaponisation for which the MQM had tabled a bill in the National Assembly with a timetable to make the entire country free of illegal weapons within three years.
Deputy leader of the MQM Parliamentary Party Faisal Sabzwari said the availability of illegal weapons was not an issue of a particular city, district or of the province, but of the entire country. And until factories where weapons were being manufactured were not closed down, improvement in law and order was not possible.
Food Minister Sardar Nadir Magsi said sophisticated weapons’ open availability was the outcome of the Afghanistan war.
He said Kalashnikovs and other weapons were not manufactured in Karachi or any other part of Sindh but were coming in from Afghanistan.
Amanullah Mehsud said he had survived three attacks on his life. He called upon the government to carry out an operation not only in Keamari, his constituency, but also in Lyari, Nazimabad, and Azizabad.
Minister Agha Tamour Pathan said in his locality now people even had antiaircraft guns.
Muhammad Anwar Mehar of the PPP recalled that the house had earlier also passed a resolution on the subject and it was referred to the standing committee headed by him. The report prepared after visiting all parts of the province was in its last phase, he added.
Bilqees Mukhtar of the MQM deplored the kidnapping of a sitting MPA.
She said her party would extend full cooperation to the government in its efforts to restore law and order.
Humera Alwani of the PPP said there was a need of political will on the part of political parties for restoring law and order.
Marvi Rashdi of the PML-F said that “no go areas”, wherever they were, should be eliminated.
Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the PML-F said that during the last three years of the present government over 100 resolutions had been passed by the assembly and the government should explain how many of them had been implemented.
She deplored that the law and order situation had worsened so much that not only kidnapping for ransom and targeted killings had increased but 113 women had been killed after being dubbed ‘Karis’ during the last three months.
Farzana Baloch, Shamim Ara Panhwar and Shama Mithani demanded that criminals be treated as such without considering to which party they belonged.
Speaking on the resolution, Syed Bachal Shah said despite the fact that a coalition government of the PPP, MQM, ANP, PML-F and PML-Q was in place, the law and order situation had become a threat to the very existence of the country.
This situation called that all political parties worked together to come out of it. He said MQM MPA Aleem-ur-Rehman was kidnapped and earlier another MPA, Raza Haider, was shot dead as hired guns could kill anyone for between Rs10,000 and Rs15,000.
Earlier, when the house was called to order at 10.25am by Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, there were only 12 MPAS and two ministers in the house.
Tuesday being private members day, the chair asked Arif Mustafa Jatoi to move a motion for leave to introduce his bill. He moved the motion one after another of his three bills on the order of the day, but were opposed by the law minister and when put to the vote they were rejected.
These bills were ‘The Sindh Electricity (Emergency Powers) Bill, 2009, ‘The Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2011’ and ‘The Sindh Prohibition Of Corporal Punishment Against Children Bill, 2011’.
Earlier after the question hour Aamir Moin Peerzada on a point of order told the chair that despite a meeting had been held with Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, Senior Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and the CCPO to pursue the FIR of kidnapping of MPA Aleem-ur-Rehman, no action had been taken on the FIR.
The others who spoke on the law and order issue included Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Sardar Ali Ahmad Pitafi and Dr Rafique Bhanban.