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KARACHI, Aug 29: For the first time in four days, proceedings in the requisitioned session of the Sindh Assembly were conducted without a rumpus.

The opposition, however, could not succeed in bringing its real agenda under discussion due to the treasury benches’ evasive attitude.

Friday’s proceedings commenced at 10.15, 45 minutes late, with Speaker Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah in the chair.

The treasury benches were not prepared at all to discuss the issues of Greater Thal Canal, ravages of rains, etc., as they adopted evasive tactics without realizing that it was making them and the assembly marginalized in representing the people of Sindh.

The opposition had come to the House with a changed strategy and did not fire salvos of points of order. Nor did it ask supplementary questions during question hour in a bid to bring important issues of its agenda under discussion, but in vain.

The non-serious manner in which many members, and even ministers, behaved during the question hour and attempted to waste time on flimsy points, engaged in uncalled for cross talks, and the time given to leave applications, made it clear that the treasury benches were shying away from facing the challenge of discussing controversial political problems which are regarded as a matter of life and death by the people of Sindh.

Posturing, and not pondering, seemed to be their sole objective which makes one guessing that whether they were relevant in the context of empowerment of the people of Sindh in managing their own affairs.

During the session, Jam Saifullah Dharejo of the PPP withdrew his privilege motion against Capital City Police Officer (CCPO), Asad Ashraf Malik, by stating that the concerned police official had contacted him in his village, clarified his position and also offered apology.

Subsequently, Ghulam Qadir Chandio of the opposition requested the Speaker that his privilege motion should be taken up out of turn. His request was opposed by Law Minister Chaudhary Iftikhar Hussain.

The Speaker wanted to put his request before the House for a division. Syed Qaim Ali Shah quoted rules 61, 62 & 63 and argued that Mr Chandio’s request could not be turned down without providing him the opportunity to justify that why should his request be entertained.

Mr Shah differed with the Speaker’s contention with regard to the Rule 58-A and contended that it was not relevant. His arguments were continuing when Speaker adjourned the session at mid-day to resume again at 9.30am on Monday.

The question hour was mainly dominated by disbursement of Zakat. Provincial Minister for Zakat and Ushr, Irfan Gul Magsi informed the House that Rs300 million had been sought from Baitul Maal for providing assistance to rain affected people of Sindh. He said that out of this amount, Rs10 million each for Badin and Thatta districts had been released. He said the amount would be distributed through the district Zakat committees. Similarly, he added, assistance would be provided to the affected people in Karachi.

Earlier, responding to a question by Assardas D. Hemanani, Mr Magsi said that minorities were given financial assistance proportionate to their population in each district out of the total allocation. He said that from July 2002 to March 2003, a total of Rs2.427 million had been distributed among 618 individuals.

Minister for Excise and Taxation informed the House that the Excise police had made a record seizure of 6,000kg charas during an operation Friday morning.

Mr Shoaib Bokhari, on behalf of finance minister, told the House that release of Sugarcane (Development) Cess for the crushing season 2001-2002 was under process.