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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday termed the call by a federal minister to construct Kalabagh dam and dubbing its opponents as ‘Indian agents’ a “mischievous” move and demanded an unconditional apology for injuring sentiments of the people of Sindh and other provinces who had already passed resolutions against the construction of the dam.

This demand was made in a resolution tabled by PPP parliamentary leader and Senior Minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro jointly with Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro. After a brief speech by its mover when the resolution was put to vote, it was adopted unanimously. The resolution reads: “This assembly strongly reiterates its principled stand, time and again, totally rejecting the construction of Kalabagh dam. This mischievous move in the Senate by Jawed Shah to whip the dead horse to life is highly condemnable.

“His remarks calling opponents of Kalabagh dam as Indian agents exposes the ailing mentality of the federal minister and this assembly censures the highly objectionable attitude of Jawed Shah and demands an unconditional apology for injuring the sentiments of the people of Sindh and other provinces who have already passed unanimously resolutions against construction of the Kalabagh dam many a time.”

‘Without taking permission from us, one should not even think of building the dam’

Before its adoption by the house, speaking on the resolution Mr Khuhro said that some people had learnt no lesson from the breakup of Pakistan. He asked why those calling opponents of Kalabagh dam Indian agents did not call Nawaz Sharif an Indian agent, who not only invited Narendra Modi but also did not talk against Kalbhushan Jhadav.

The minister recalled that it was an international law that no dam could be built without the consent of the people living at the tail end of the river. “As such, without taking permission from us, one should not even think of building the dam”.

He recalled that three provincial assemblies of the country, including Sindh, had rejected the dam many a time and also had passed resolutions against it. The remarks of Jawed Shah had hurt sentiments of the people of the three provinces. He should extend an unconditional apology.

After the adoption of the resolution, the house was adjourned at 2.45pm till Friday for reassembling at 10am.

Homage paid to Joyo and Allama Iqbal

Earlier during other business of the day from the agenda, the house also passed two more resolutions with consensus pertaining to the demise of iconic writer, teacher and scholar Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo, paying rich tributes to his scholarly services to the country, for Sindh and its people in particular.

In another resolution rich tributes were paid to visionary poet Allama Mohammad Iqbal, who gave the concept of an independent Muslim homeland in the subcontinent, resulting in the creation of Pakistan.

The resolution on the demise of great scholar Joyo was read out by Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, Cultural and Antiquities Minister Sardar Ahmad and PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sahar Abbasi.

The entire house was keen to speak to pay tributes to the outstanding literary personality, but only a couple of lawmakers could make it. They include Sorath Thebo of the PML-N, Heer Ismail Soho, Waqar Hussain Shah and Dewan Chand Chawla of the MQM; Ghazala Siyal, Khurshid Junejo, Minister Jam Khan Shoro, Imdad Pitafi and Dr Sikander Shoro of the PPP.

After the Question Hour, Khurram Sherzaman of the PTI took up a calling-attention notice pertaining to the suffering of thousands of citizens whose bikes were being picked up in Saddar areas daily without displaying ‘No parking’ signs by the traffic police.

Responding to the notice, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal said displaying ‘No parking’ signs was the responsibility of the KMC and cantonment and not that of the traffic police, whose duty was only to remove vehicles from areas where parking was not allowed.

Presiding chairman Dr Sohrab Sarki said that whoever may be responsible for display of ‘No parking’ board, it must be displayed and in case the vehicles were picked up, the affected persons should be informed about their vehicle by the police.

Heer Soho of the MQM by her calling-attention notice asked about the annual fee in addition to the tuition fees being collected by private schools. Education Minister Mehtab Dahar informed the house that private schools under a law of 2005 were entitled to collect one month tuition fees from the students yearly as annual charges for extracurricular activities.

At the start of the day’s proceedings, PTI MPAs Samar Ali Khan and Dr Seema Zia informed the chair about the change of their parliamentary leader from Samar Ali Khan to Khurram Sherzaman.

Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2017