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KARACHI: The provincial assembly on Thursday adopted “The Sindh Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Bill, 2016” to provide relief to 619 employees whose services were terminated between Feb 3, 1997 and Feb 18, 2008 due to political victimization.

In the house,which was called to order at 10.15am by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, the two other bills which were introduced included “The Sindh Right to Information Bill,” and “The Sindh Arms (Amendment) Bill 2016”.

Before tabling the new bill, Sindh Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro drew attention of the house towards undue delay by standing committees in reporting back to the house, even for years in some cases such as the Karachi Mass Transit Bill and Payment of Wages Bill. He said these bills had been referred to the standing committees concerned which despite many meetings did not send their reports to the house. The minister asked the chair to call the reports on the bills by Monday for consideration.

After introducing the sacked employees reinstatement bill 2016, when the minister moved the motion for dispensing with relevant rules to take up it for immediate consideration, the motion was opposed by the opposition benches. PTI lawmaker Samar Ali Khan, MQM lawmaker Syed Sardar Ahmad, PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and PML-N lawmaker Ismail Rahu pleaded to refer the bill to the appropriate standing committee so that the house could be informed about the reasons of the termination of their services and the list of the employees who were recommended for reinstatement.

Committee comprising politicians set up to vet ‘The Sindh Right to Information Bill’ and send its report by 29th

Responding to the criticism, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah put up a strong case for taking up the bill for immediate consideration. He said this bill was specific for those employees who had been provided job on merit by Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto but who were sacked due to political victimization. He thanked the opposition for conceding that Mohtrama Benazir Bhutto had given the job on merit and that was why soon after coming to power in federal and Sindh provincial government a ministerial committee was formed to review all such cases. The committee had received some 1,800 applications. After scrutiny on the recommendations of the committee, 619 were reinstated. They might include some Jiyalas of the PPP, he said. But irrespective of their political affiliation, was it not their right to get a government job, he questioned. “I am chief minister and also a Jiyala,” he added. He dispelled the impression that the government was facing litigation against their reinstatement who he said had already been working since 2009.

Mr Shah said they were already provided legal cover by the federal government except in Sindh. Besides, he said the Sindh cabinet had already given its approval as such it was our obligation to provide them legal cover so that in future no dictator could play with their future. Referring to a similar issue that was taken up in 2003 by the then provincial government, he said the PPP despite being in the opposition supported the reinstatement of doctors.

About surplus hiring by some officials during last tenure of the PPP government, he said their cases were under investigation and actions were taken against those found involved in the practice. “I have given the explanation for the need to adopt the bill, even now if the opposition wanted to oppose the bill, they are at liberty.”

After the speech as no one opposed it, the bill was taken up for consideration clause by clause and was approved by voice votes of the majority.

As no business was left on the agenda with the adoption of the bill, deputy speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding the session, called it a day at 1pm to reassemble on Friday at 10am.

Earlier on a suggestion of the minister of parliamentary affairs, a committee comprising Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Dr Sikander Mandhro, Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Pir Mujibul Haq, Sharmila Farooqi, Syed Owais Shah, Syed Sardar Ahmad, Aamir Moin Peerzada, Shaharyar Khan Mahar, Samar Ali Khan, Haji Shafi Jamote and Nand Kumar was constituted to go through The Sindh Right to Information Bill and submit its report by Sept 29, while the Sindh Arms (Amendment ) bill was referred to the standing committee on home affairs with the directive to report back by Wednesday.

The other business which was on the order of the agenda included four call attention notices – one regarding procurement of snorkel for the KMC moved by Leader of Opposition Khawaja Izharul Hassan, deplorable condition of roads in Karachi Central by Jamal Ahmad, shortage of water issue in PS-112 by Khurram Sherzaman and action against illegal medical practitioners/quacks in Korangi district.

Published in Dawn, September 23rd, 2016