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KARACHI: The provincial assembly passed the Sindh Forensic Science Agency Bill 2017 on Thursday, paving the way for establishing an agency for forensic examination of documents, material, equipment, impressions and other objects. Besides, it would provide an administrative and legal framework to the Sindh Forensic Laboratory and its findings or reports for admissibility in court.

Before the adoption of the bill, the house accommodated some technical suggestions made by Senior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro to remove minor flaws from the bill. According to the bill, the agency shall, within 30 days of receipt of material, authenticate and send an expert opinion to a court, tribunal or authority. But, if any expert or official is found negligently rendering a false or misleading opinion before court or authority, [he or she] shall be liable to six months’ imprisonment or with a fine up to Rs50,000 or both.

Earlier Syed Awais Qadir Shah, who is chairman of the standing committee on home, presented the report for consideration.

Panchayat decision to rape girl in revenge condemned

Shortage of water, excess of garbage in Karachi

Responding to a call-attention notice, Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro said the main cause of the water shortage in Karachi was the difference in demand and supply as against a demand of over 100mgd the water supply was 65mgd.

He said the government was implementing different projects, including K-4, rehabilitation of the Dhabeji and Pipri pumping stations and installation of generators to offset power breakdowns as after a power breakdown, it took 48 hours to reach the level of water supply.

He gave this assurance in response to a notice of Jamal Ahmad of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, who had drawn the attention of the minister towards an acute water shortage in his constituency (PS-101) and asked the minister to hold an open katchehry.

Responding to a call-attention notice of Kamran Akhtar about garbage dumps and overflowing sewage everywhere in District West, especially in Baldia Town, and illegal construction of over 6,000 high-rise buildings in Karachi, turning the city into a concrete jungle, the minister said that in the past there was no proper system to lift garbage from the city to the landfill sites. But now, he added, a computerised system had been installed to monitor the garbage quantity being shifted from every district.

He said that from District West now more garbage was being lifted, including from the backlog, than before. Besides, he said, soon complaints of West and Malir districts would be addressed effectively as the work of lifting garbage and cleanliness was being outsourced to some company like that of South and East districts under the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board. He further said that as for illegal construction of buildings, the KMC, KDA, MDA and revenue authorities had their own staff to check illegal constructions.

Syed Ameer Hayder Sheerazi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had drawn the attention towards garbage dumps in the city. As a result gutters were overflowing, spreading disease and stench, and on contact the TMO did not give any response.

The local government minister assured the lawmaker that the municipal crisis was due to a non-existent mechanism but under a new mechanism, Rs500,000 was being provided to every ward to give priorities to water supply, garbage lifting and fire services and in this financial transaction elected chairmen were involved to monitor the work.

Minister Nisar Khuhro responding to a call-attention notice of Rana Ansar of the MQM-P regarding cutting of trees planted for the protection of canal banks in Sanghar, said that as she did not specify the area and time, a probe could not be ordered following a statement from the irrigation department that they had so far not received any such complaint.

Girl’s rape condemned

Condemning the panchayat which ordered rape of a teenage girl in revenge for the reported rape by her brother, the Sindh Assembly on Thursday demanded that the government take the women of the area in south Punjab where the heinous incident took place in its protective custody as men of the locality had not only shown that they were no longer the traditional protectors of their womenfolk but were also not reliable.

These views were expressed by lawmakers across the floor on the resolution tabled by Khairunnisa Mughal of the Pakistan Peoples Party with joint signatures of her colleagues.

Elaborating her feelings, Ms Mughal said it was a heinous crime and such incidents were being repeated off and on in Punjab, while the people involved in such anti-human incidents managed to escape punishment. She said if those involved in the Mukhtaran Mai case were given an exemplary punishment, such incidents could be prevented.

Endorsing the resolution, Syed Sardar Ahmad said that this was a matter of shame and barbaric behaviour and called for public hanging of the culprits.

Naheed Begum of the MQM said holding a jirga was illegal in Pakistan, therefore, why was a parallel judicial system being allowed.

Dr Seema Zia of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf said it was a failure of the state in discharging its duty. Rauf Siddiqui of the MQM said that if the area SHO and SP were punished, such incidents would never happen.

Syeda Shehla Raza, deputy speaker, said that there was no justice for women in our society and with the passage of time a criminal tendency was getting stronger.

Earlier, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani called the house to order at 11.50am. He gave the floor to PML-N’s Sorath Thebo to speak on her point of order. Ms Thebo said that Imdad Pitafi of the PPP had called her ‘chari’ [insane] which reflected that people with such mean mentality had even come into the assembly. “I have always raised voice for rights of the people and given sacrifices for democracy, and even Nelson Mandela was also termed pagal.”

The speaker said she could not be allowed to speak for using unparliamentary words and adjourned the session till Friday.

Birthday greeting to ‘president’ Zardari

After completion of the agenda, the house greeted Asif Ali Zardari on his 62nd birthday by a resolution tabled by Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro. The resolution was adopted with consensus after an amendment suggested by Speaker Durrani that he be addressed as ‘president’ instead of ‘former president’ as was practised in the United States. He paid tributes to the ‘president’, recalling how his services for the cause of democracy “will always be remembered in the annals of history”.

Published in Dawn, July 28th, 2017