KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday passed ‘The Sindh Local Government (Third Amendment) Bill 2015’, allowing a citizen having dual nationality to contest the polls besides increasing the number of women seats from one to two an addition of one member from the youth in union committee and union council.
With the amendment, the total strength of the union committee/ council has increased from nine to 11. Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, who piloted the bill, said the amendments were based on the observation of the Election Commission and the Supreme Court. These included one related to the election of the local bodies heads through secret balloting, as the constitution allowed elections of the prime minister and the chief minister only by show of hands, he said.
The house, which was called to order at 11am by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, carried out its entire business in the absence of all the 51 legislators of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, who had submitted their resignations en masse. Assuring the house that with the passage of the bill the local government elections would be held in different phases this year, the minister appealed to the lawmakers to adopt the bill unanimously to send out a good message.
According to the amendment, chairman, vice chairman and four general members of the union committee and union council shall be elected on the basis of adult franchise, while two women, one labourer or peasant, one youth and one non-Muslim shall be elected indirectly.
Besides adoption of the amendment bill, the assembly also passed into law four other bills titled The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (Amendment) Bill, The Malir University of Sciences and Technology Karachi Bill-2015, The Sindh Zakat and Ushr (Amendment ) Bill and The Shaheed Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto Medical University, Larkana, (Amendment) Bill.
The house also adopted a resolution out of turn condemning the child abuse case in Kasur, Punjab. By the resolution, the assembly expressing serious concern over the case demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and their trial in a military court to provide speedy justice to the victims and their families.
On completion of its order of the day, the house was prorogued sine a die at 1.35pm by the order of the governor.
All the house business remained one-sided affair except the amendment related to the name of the university’s dental section after Aseefa Zardari-Bhutto according to a syndicate decision. The objection was raised by PML-F lawmaker Mehtab Akbar Rashdi, who argued that the institutions were named after only those persons who had rendered some outstanding services in that field. Besides, Aseefa had to go a long way to earn that stature, said Ms Rashdi. Responding to the objection, Dr Sikandar Mandhro said it was the university syndicate decision which the lawmakers were going to honour by naming the dental section after Aseefa Bibi. As the objection was rejected by the speaker, the bill was passed into law.
The privilege motion of PPP lawmaker Nawab Taimur Talpur against the deputy commissioner, Malir, could not be taken up for want of his presence, while an adjournment motion of PTI lawmaker Syed Hafeezuddin regarding K-Electric was ruled out of order on technical ground.After the questions hour related to the information technology and public health engineering departments, only one of the five call attention notices was taken up. Its notice was given by PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sahar Abbasi about number of drains in Karachi from where encroachment had been removed so far. The local government minister informed the house that encroachment had been removed from Gujjar nullah up to one kilometre so far.
The other call attention notices were not taken up, as their movers MQM lawmakers Sabir Hussain Kaimkhani, Mohammad Hussain, Dilawar Qureshi and Mohammad Rashid Khilji were not present in the house.
Published in Dawn, August 13th, 2015