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KARACHI: Against the backdrop of a recent seizure of over 4,700 donkey hides in Karachi, Senior Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro assured the Sindh Assembly on Friday that it was quite clear that the meat of donkeys was not being sold in the province.

A couple of days ago the Sharah-i-Faisal police had carried out a raid in Gulistan-i-Jauhar and recovered over 4,700 donkey hides, which were brought here from Lahore for their onward journey to China. Seven persons, including a Chinese national, were arrested.

The issue came under discussion in the house, which was called to order by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani at 11.50 am, when Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Dilawar Qureshi tabled a motion under Rule 265 of the Sindh Assembly’s Rules of Procedure seeking a policy statement from the government on the recovery of the donkey hides in Karachi.

Responding to the motion, Minister Khuhro, who holds the portfolio of parliamentary affairs, termed the recovery of donkey hides in such a large quantity a matter of serious concern.

However, he said, it also manifested the vigilance of the Sindh government as it was the Sindh police which foiled the smuggling attempt.

“Regardless of its use, it is quite clear that the meat of donkey is not being sold in Sindh.”

He said following the incident the government would be more vigilant so that no one could indulge in such an illegal practice in the province.

Earlier, speaking on his motion Mr Qureshi said that nearly 5,000 donkey hides were recovered in Karachi. The cost of a donkey ranged between Rs100,000 and above and the price of its hide was around Rs25,000.

He said it was a big question whether or not the donkey meat was used in restaurants and houses.

He asked the government to make a policy statement in this regard and tell the house what measures were being taken to ensure that donkey’s meat was not sold in Sindh.

Leader of the Opposition Khwaja Izharul Hasan said the government was being provided with an opportunity to give assurance to the house that it was alert to the situation and no one in Sindh was involved in selling donkey meat.

After disposal of the motion, Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the house after Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani had left the session, around 2pm called it a day to reassemble on Tuesday at 2pm.

Earlier the chair informed the house that Governor Mohammad Zubair had given his assent to the Sindh Development and Maintenance of Infrastructure Cess Bill, 2017.

The discussion on the budget execution report of the first and second quarters could not be continued for want of time.

10 fire tenders, new snorkel for Karachi

MQM’s Kamran Akhtar in his call-attention notice asked the government about measures being taken to modernise the fire brigade in Karachi.

Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro responded that fire brigade stations were being maintained by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, but the Sindh government also helped it.

He said that the Sindh government had already ordered 10 fire tenders and a 100-metre-long snorkel to be purchased for Karachi.

He also informed the house that fire services were available at 22 locations in Karachi.

Health Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro in response to the call-attention notice of Heer Soho of the MQM informed the house that chikungunya was a viral disease and a vaccine to prevent it was not yet discovered.

He said the virus was first reported in Karachi in 2016 in Malir, where some 63,000 patients were treated in hospitals.

Besides Malir, some patients affected by the virus were also found in Korangi, Orangi Town and some other localities. The total number of patients crossed 75,000. However, no one had died because of this disease.

He said that the only precaution was to cover the body and use anti-mosquito oil. He said the government would launch an awareness drive.

In response to the call-attention notice of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz MPA Ameer Hyder Shirazi, the health minister said that there was shortage of doctors not only in Thatta and Makli hospitals but in all government hospitals of Sindh. He said the government had taken steps to recruit 6,683 doctors to meet the shortage and soon the situation would improve.

He said that at present 42 doctors were serving in the Thatta hospital.

Responding to the call-attention notice of MQM’s Qamar Abbas Rizvi, the LG minister said that the two PC-I for replacement of a sewerage line at Love Line opposite Karachi Zoo in district East had been prepared with an estimated cost of Rs10 million and Rs 10.5m. He said some measures were being initiated to open the choked sewerage lines to check overflow of sewage.

In reply to the call-attention notice of Nusrat Sahar Abbasi of the PML-F, Mr Khuhro on behalf of the irrigation minister informed the house that Dodo Faqir village near Khipro was located 20km away from the water escape area of Nara Canal, whose gates were opened in case of flood or in rainy season. He said the village was also above 20 feet from the area. Therefore, the question of inundating the village did not arise.

Published in Dawn, April 29th, 2017