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KARACHI: A lawmaker from Thatta saw the utilisation of Rs20 million community development programme (CDP) fund by the Sukkur deputy commissioner without informing her as a breach of her privilege and her motion was referred to the committee on rules of procedure and privileges for an inquiry on Wednesday.

The issue was taken up by Heer Soho of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement who said that the Sukkur DC, without any approval, utilised funds allocated to her under the CDP.

She said such attitude of a public servant towards a public representative had not only breached her privilege but also the privilege of the whole house.

Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmad Khuhro opposed the motion, saying the use of funds was not mentioned as a breach of privilege in the Privileges Act.

He said that the funds were not of any MPA but belonged to the CDP and under the rules the DC could execute a development scheme if 15 persons of a constituency signed an application seeking a particular development scheme in their area.

MQM’s parliamentary party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad said that the purchases of Rs20m by the DC were shown against the name of Ms Soho and as she was not aware of it, this amounted to fraud and there should be a formal inquiry.

Leader of the Opposition Khwaja Izharul Hasan said that earlier opposition lawmakers Shaharyar Mahar, Sorath Thebo and Nusrat Saher Abbasi had got relief from the high court.

Mr Khuhro said that as the lawmaker was elected against a reserved seat, she did not have any particular constituency and, therefore, funds could be utilised wherever required to facilitate the people.

Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, who was presiding over the session after Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani left the house, admitted the motion and referred it to the committee on rules of procedure and privileges with the directive for an early completion of the inquiry.

PTI lawmaker’s motion ruled non-maintainable

The adjournment motion of Khurram Sher Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf was about the failure of the government to effectively control pneumonia in Sindh and that the lower level of expanded programme on Immunisation (EPI) coverage compared to other provinces along with unsafe drinking water is leading to poor results in tackling pneumonia in the province.

The motion was opposed by Health Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro. The chair, after hearing arguments from both sides on admissibility of the motion, termed it non-maintainable.

Ms Raza snubbed PTI’s Dr Seema Zia when she instead taking up her calling-attention notice to speak about the breach of her privilege by the special assistant to chief minister on women development who had misquoted her in the house.

Earlier, the house was called to order at 11.45am by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.

Govt land in Korangi under encroachment

In response to the calling-attention notice of Moin Aamir Pirzada of the MQM, Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro conceded that a plot opposite the National Public School in Korangi No. 1 was under encroachment.

The officials concerned had tried to remove the occupants from the plot but as it was located in a congested area, the action did not bring fruit due to resistance. However, after serving due notices when anti-encroachment drive would be launched with police cover, the plot would be vacated, he said.

The calling-attention notice of Dr Seema Zia about deployment of 1,300 constables of Benazirabad who were being used elsewhere for security instead of policing in the district could not be responded to due to the absence of the home minister.

In response to the notice of Syed Ameer Hyder Shah Sheerazi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz about deplorable road condition from Mirpur Sakro to Ghulamullah, which linked six union councils, Works and Services Minister Imdad Pitafi informed the house that 50 per cent funds had been utilised and after release of more funds, the road would be reconstructed.

Answering the calling-attention notice of MQM’s Kamran Akhtar pertaining to fake registration of new vehicles, Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said not a single fake registration plate had been issued.

However, six to seven vehicles without registration were seized which were auctioned only the other day and those involved in the case were under inquiry. He said that the recovery of taxes was a mere Rs7 billion 10 years ago before the PPP came to power and it now stood at Rs58bn.

On the calling-attention notice of Engineer Sabir Kaimkhani of the MQM regarding leakage of sewage from the Tulsi Das Pumping station in Hyderabad, the LG minister said that a PC-I with an estimated cost of Rs250m had been submitted to the planning and development department for approval.

Besides, he said, the government was installing a 100MGD filter plant for Latifabad No. 4, and the sewerage system and work on roads was under progress.

He assured the house that soon the issues of Tulsi Das and Darya Khan pumping stations would be solved.

Before the house was adjourned at 2.15pm to meet on Thursday at 10am, Senior Minister Khuhro introduced the Sindh Livestock Registration and Trade Authority Bill, 2017.

Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2017