KARACHI, Feb 27: In a move to lower the political temperature, the Pakistan People’s Party supported and got unanimously passed a resolution tabled by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday calling for the establishment of a public sector university in Hyderabad.
The resolution was tabled by the MQM and was endorsed by Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, who has been at the centre of a controversy following a statement in which he said that he stood as an ‘iron wall’ in the way of the establishment of a university in Hyderabad.
MQM parliamentary party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad stood on a point of order and asked the chair to take up today a draft bill submitted by the MQM on Feb 15 to set up a public sector university in Hyderabad.
When universities were being set up in Lyari, Tando Mohammad Khan and practically everywhere, would it be wrong if a university was established in Hyderabad, he argued.
Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session, said the copies of the draft bill were sent to the education, law and finance departments on Feb 19 and the assembly was yet to receive any response.
Responding to the point of order, Pir Mazhar said that the government had no objection and it was prepared to fully back the university. However, he added, it involved expenditure from the consolidated fund or from the public account of the province. The bill could be tabled with the consent of the provincial government under Article 115 of the Constitution, he said.
He offered to go along with “MQM friends” to the chief minister to get his approval, as he considered it his own bill.Mr Ahmad said: “We don’t want any financial assistance from public accounts or the consolidated fund from the government and we are prepared to sell our property to manage and run the university.”
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said that there was no mention in the bill that it was for setting up a university in the private sector. “We would go to the chief minister and request him to approve the bill instead of taking it to the cabinet. There is no hurry as the assembly will be in session even in March.”
Syed Waseem Hussain of the MQM said that over 4.5 million people lived in Hyderabad and they were continuously being deprived of higher education.
He said that this discriminatory move was beyond comprehension and their issue should be taken up on the floor of the house.
Pir Mazhar recalled that universities in the public and private sector were being given charters and only a few days back a bill was passed for setting up a university in the private sector in Hyderabad.
Fasial Sabzwari of the MQM said that Hyderabad was the second largest city of the province and although the education minister had announced setting up three universities in Hyderabad, as a first step he should immediately announce establishing Hyderabad University.
Zahid Bhurgari of the PPP said that the government had never objected to setting up the university.
He said he was himself from Hyderabad and people of Qasimabad had also demanded a university in the city.
The house, which met after a two-day break at 11.10am, was presided over by Dr Sikander Mandhro, a member of the panel of chairmen.
Through another unanimously passed resolution, the house condemned “the dastardly act of terrorism in Shikarpur and Jacobabd. These acts are in continuation of similar terrorist activity against the Hazara community in Balochistan.”
It added: “This Assembly also appeals to the PML-N to disassociate themselves and discontinue all overt and covert support to banned terrorist organisations who are the perpetrators of such heinous activities”.
The resolution was put to a vote when lawmakers belonging to the PML-Functinal and the National People’s Party were not present in the house.
Before adoption of the resolution tabled by PPP lawmaker Imran Zafar Leghari under Rule 211 by relaxing all relevant rules, hard-hitting speeches were made by Sharjeel Inam Memon, Humera Alwani against the PML-N for allegedly patronising terrorist organisations.
They called upon the PML-N to cut its link with such banned organisations and appealed to the Election Commission to disqualify for good all such parties having secret links with terrorist outfits.
Before the assembly rose for the day at 4pm to meet on Thursday at 10am, the house passed five bills, four of them unanimously.
After adoption of the fifth bill (No 12 of 2013) with a voice vote of majority on the treasury benches, MQM’s Sardar Ahmad said that the Sindh Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill, 2013 would mar the merit principle in awarding contracts and open the gate of corruption of billion of rupees.
The other bills passed unanimously were Bill No 8 of 2013 for the Establishment of Dawood University of Engineering and Technology Bill by upgrading the college devolved by the federal government to the Sindh government.
The bill 22 of 2012 provided for the Establishment of the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Dewan University at Karachi.
The bill No 12 of 2012 provided for the establishment of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law at Karachi, which would be the first university of law in the country.
The law minister, who tabled the bill, gave the assurance to the MQM’s Khalid Ahmad that the summary for approval of the law section in Landhi, Korangi would be soon be sanctioned.
After the bills, the report of standing committee on home was presented for adoption by its chairman Anwar Mahar.Earlier, a privilege motion of Arif Mustatfa Jatoi of the NPP pertaining to the ruling of the acting speaker was ruled out of order by Dr Mandhro, while his adjournment motion was also declared out of order by acting speaker Shehla Raza after it was pointed out that there was no mention of Sindh in the report presented to parliament about creation of a new province in Punjab.
The law minister said that the question of a division of Sindh did not arise as “we all are on the same page about Sindh’s integrity, solidarity and unity”.