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KARACHI: Three opposition parties on Monday decided to table a no-confidence motion in the Sindh Assembly against Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza for misusing her authority while chairing the assembly sessions to silence opposition lawmakers.

Following the assembly’s Monday session, the three opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and PML-Nawaz — met and decided to move against Ms Raza. However the biggest opposition party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, remained undecided about the move.

This was announced by PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sahar Abbasi after Monday’s assembly session, which was marred by noisy protest because of the rigid attitude of Ms Raza, who presided over the sitting in the absence of Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

Ms Abbasi told reporters that the opposition parties had a consultative session in which they discussed the “partial” attitude of the deputy speaker during Monday’s sitting.

MPA Nusrat Abbasi stages a walkout against Shehla Raza’s attitude

She said Ms Raza often threatened that she would exercise her powers to tame the opposition by not allowing them to speak.

“We have summoned a meeting of opposition parliamentary parties in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday (today) to decide the time and the day to submit the vote of no-confidence move against the deputy speaker,” she said.

In reply to a question, she said she had talked to MQM’s deputy parliamentary party leader Faisal Subzwari about the move and he sought time to consult his colleagues before making any commitment.

Syed Ameer Haider Shah of the PML-N said they too had complaints about the attitude of the deputy speaker as she did not allow opposition legislators to speak on pressing issues.

PTI lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman said that their party was part of the decision to bring a no-confidence motion against the deputy speaker.

##Rumpus in PA

Earlier, during the Sindh Assembly session, which met here after two-day break on Monday, the attitude of the deputy speaker forced opposition lawmakers to lodge a noisy protest that turned the house into a fish market.

As soon as the house was called to order at 11.20am instead of its scheduled time of 10am, Ms Abbasi pointed out a lack of quorum during Question Hour.

Lodging her protest over an inordinate delay of three to four years in getting reply to her questions, she said the questions became irrelevant by the time they were included in the order of the day.

She said she had been pointing out this issue for so long, but no one was paying any heed towards it. In protest of the indifferent attitude, she staged a walkout.

Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro responded that it would have been better had the lawmaker listened to the reply about her question before the walkout.

The deputy speaker said that no other member had made any similar complaint. When other opposition members endorsed the complaint of Ms Abbasi and tried to ask supplementary questions, the chair did not allow them.

The chair also berated MQM legislator Sabir Qaimkhani and asked him to take his seat or she would “make him sit”.

Her remarks infuriated other MQM lawmakers who stood on their seats in protest. The chair warned them to take their seats otherwise she would exercise her powers. The opposition reminded the chair of her harsh attitude.

As the chair was taking calling-attention notices, Dr Seema Zia of the PTI tried to talk, but the chair asked her not to go into “irrelevant details” and keep herself to the subject of her notice.

These remarks again became a cause of noisy protest from the opposition. When the chair switched off their mikes, the lawmakers converged in front of the speaker’s rostrum.

The chair called off the calling-attention notices and took up the adjournment motion of PTI’s Mr Sherzaman. However, he was not present in the house and his motion was not taken up.

The chair gave the floor to Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro to take up the Sindh Occupational Safety and Health Bill, 2017 for introduction. The bill would be taken up for consideration and adoption on Wednesday.

Resolution for lifting ban on students’ unions adopted

Also on Monday, the house demanded that the provincial government immediately lift ban on students’ unions in educational institutions in the province.

The house unanimously passed a resolution tabled by PPP’s Dr Abdul Sattar Rajpar after brief speeches by a dozen lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

The mover, Mr Rajpar, called upon the Sindh government not to wait for the federal government and restore the students’ unions in the province as this ban was imposed by a dictator and the democratic government ought to lift this ban.

PPP’s Khairunnisa Mughal, Khurshid Junejo, Saeed Ghani, Imdad Pitafi, Javed Nagori and Syed Owais Qadir; PTI’s Samar Ali Khan and MQM’s Faisal Subzwari spoke on the resolution.

The house also adopted another resolution, which was read out by Mr Khuhro.

It said: “This house commemorates World Science Community, especially women, and salutes their efforts towards contribution to the province’s and children’s progress. This house also reiterates the resolve expressed by the chief minister to set up state-of-the-art science centres and museums in Sindh’s divisional headquarters and urges the ministry of information, science and technology to seek support of the science community in this regard.”

The house was adjourned at 2.45pm to meet on Tuesday at 10am.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2017