KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly will be briefed on the law and order situation in Karachi by the inspector general of police and the additional inspector general on Wednesday, and the briefing will be followed by a question-answer session, as was demanded by the house on Monday.
The in-camera briefing will be held after legislation business on the order of the day. This proposal was approved by the house on a resolution moved by Ghulam Mujaddid Isran and Syed Khalid Ahmad on Monday. The house also decided to have a general debate on the law and order situation the next day after the briefing.
On the suggestion of Faisal Sabzwari that whether lawmakers would be able to restrain themselves from touching on sensitive issues during general discussion on law and order, Senior Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq and Rafique Engineer said the rules of business allowed the chair to determine terms of reference in that connection.
Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, on a suggestion of Bachal Shah ruled that after the briefing she would have a meeting with the leaders of parliamentary parties to ensure that their members would neither disclose the contents of the briefing nor would touch them during general discussion on law and order.
Pir Mazharul Haq recalled that the law and order issue had been discussed a number of times as this was not a new issue and had haunted the city for the last many years, but there were some elements who were after the Pakistan People’s Party and indulged in conspiracies to frustrate the parliamentary system. “Every institution of the state should work within its own limits. In the past some other institution were blamed for derailing the democratic system but now some others have jumped into the arena,” he said.
He said the federating units had different cultures and could not afford the presidential form of government.
The apex court had a right to reject any law which was contrary to the spirit of the constitution, but the assembly was the only forum to amend the law. “Let the parliamentary system continue to function,” he added.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said the figures given in the report submitted in the apex court by the ADIG were not necessarily correct. The purpose of the briefing was to know that who was conspiring against democracy and why.
Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional said not only all members of the house but every citizen was concerned and keen to know which forces were behind the killing of 6,000 people during the last five years, how they escaped after targeting people and why they could not be apprehended.
Cultural Minister Sassui Palejo endorsed the resolution and referred to the report submitted by the police in the Supreme Court on the Karachi law and order situation in which it was disclosed that 400 police officials were directly involved in criminal activities and faced cases, but were also on field duty.
Jam Tamachi said the briefing should have been held two or three years back, and proposed that the Rangers DG and the chairman of the joint operation team should also be asked to brief the house.
Mr Isran speaking on his resolution said elected members in the house were aware of the measures being taken by the government to control the deteriorating law and order situation in Karachi, where strikes, sit-ins and targeted killings were order of the day. After Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s reported statement that it was not the federal but the Sindh government which was responsible to control the law and order situation, a briefing to the house had become inevitable.
Three resolutions adopted The assembly during its day’s sitting, which was called to order at 10.50am, after the completion of the agenda also adopted three other resolutions unanimously before calling it a day at 3.30pm.
In one of the three resolutions moved on behalf of the house by Women Development Minister Tauqeer Fatima Bhutto pertained to National Women’s Day. In the resolution focusing the plight of women, vulnerability to oppression by family and society, in rural and slum areas of the city in particular, due to lack of education, awareness and want of economic opportunities called for measures to be taken to improve their status for empowering them with education, necessary skills, training and micro financing.
The resolution also resolved to provide women with necessary health facilities and legal cover to safeguard their rights as were enshrined in the 1973 Constitution by making sustained efforts to improve the living and working conditions.
Nuzhat Pathan, Marvi Rashdi and Nusrat Seher Abbasi said it was shameful that despite adopting resolutions every year and making laws for empowering women, women continued to face Karo-kari charges for marrying men of their choice, and they were being ‘married to the Holy Quran’ to save land from distribution. This situation was not going to improve until society’s mindset was changed and relevant laws were implemented.
Bilqees Mukhtar and Heer Soho said society could make progress only if women were given the rights, status and respect as enshrined in the religion and the constitution.
Farheen Mughal, Humera Alwani, Ayesha Khoso and Sassui Palejo said the highest work for empowering women was done by the PPP governments.
By a joint resolution, signed by over two dozen members of the Muttahid Qaumi Movement and read by Syed Khalid Ahmad, the Pakistan government was requested to confer the Nishan-i-Pakistan Award on the slain Sindh Assembly members Syed Raza Haider, who was shot dead in a mosque on Aug 2, 2010, and Syed Manzar Imam, who was gunned down on Jan 17.
Two bills introduced The law minister introduced two bills –– The Sindh Higher Education Commission Bill, 2013, and the Jacobabad Institute of Medical Sciences Bill, 2013. Consideration on Bill 21 of 2012 –– the Jinnah Sindh Medical University Bill –– was deferred to Thursday and Bill 4 of 2013 –– The right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education –– was also deferred till Tuesday, private members day.
Minorities’ rights A resolution, moved by Saleem Khurshid Khokhar and unanimously passed, read: “This house resolves that religious minorities have equal citizens rights and have played very vital role in the establishment and development of the country in every field specially to curb the terrorism. The assembly recommended to the government to ensure the safety of lives of religious minorities and their properties.”
Earlier, Mr Khokhar did not press his adjournment motion after an assurance by the law minister that Interior Minister Rehman Malik had said categorically that he had not issued any statement against any minority and if feelings of anyone had been hurt, he offered his regret saying that in Pakistan all minorities enjoyed equal rights as any other citizen.
Fake signature Rafique Engineer informed the house that former adviser to Sindh Imtiaz Ahmad had not returned three government vehicles of the Special Education Department. Submitted by Jam Madad Ali, the receipts about returning the vehicles had fake signatures on them.
Sharjeel Inam Memon said the issue should be referred to the privilege committee.
Dr Rafique Bhanban said the letter by which the secretary concerned had declared his signatures fake should be provided to them for its verification.
The chair said she had also sent the receipts to the department concerned for verification and asked Rafique Engineer to provide a copy of the letter to Dr Bhanban.