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SINDH Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah makes a point while answering queries of lawmakers during the provincial assembly’s Question Hour on Monday.—APP
SINDH Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah makes a point while answering queries of lawmakers during the provincial assembly’s Question Hour on Monday.—APP

KARACHI: The Sindh Asse­mbly on Monday amended a colonial-era law to empower the provincial government, or its authorised officers, to exercise executive magistracy powers with regard to application of Section 144 of the criminal procedure code.

The same powers were earlier exercised by district nazims under the now repealed Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2001.

Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro introduced the Code of Criminal Procedure (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the assembly and said that it was necessary to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 to end confusion in view of the abolition of the district government system after the promulgation of the Sindh Local Government Act 2013.

The parliamentary party leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Syed Sardar Ahmad, recalled that previously it was decided that consent was taken from all provincial ministers to revive the executive magistracy system for exercising the powers of Section 144 (Power to issue order absolute at once in urgent cases of nuisance or apprehended danger) to deal with emergency.

The Centre asked to restore Benazir Bhutto’s picture on BISP logo

He said that a law in this regard was still pending with the federal law ministry.

Mr Khuhro said that until the law was finalised by the federal government, which would be exhaustive in nature dealing with all issues in relation to the use of Section 144, this amendment was the need of the hour to avoid any ambiguity.

Following a brief discussion in which MQM’s Dilwar Qureshi and Law Minster Zia Lanjar also took part, the law was taken for clause-by-clause reading and after the third reading when put to the house the bill was carried unanimously.

After the passage of this bill, the government, or its authorised officers — deputy commissioners, district superintendents of police — can direct any person to abstain from a certain act or take certain order with certain property in his possession or under his management.

Another bill — The Sindh Institute of Traumatology, Ortho­pae­dics and Rehabilitation Bill, 2017 — was referred to the committee concerned for a detailed study.

Removal of Benazir’s picture from BISP logo slammed

Two resolutions were also adopted in the assembly. The first resolution was related to the removal of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s picture from the logo of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

The house, through the resolution tabled by PPP lawmaker Ghazala Siyal, condemned the move by the federal government and demanded that her picture be restored on the BISP logo forthwith.

The second resolution, which was submitted by PPP legislator Saira Shaliyani, was about highlighting the need to introduce a curriculum in schools to create awareness to check children abuse. The house unanimously adopted the resolution.

The house was called to order at 4pm by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who after completion of the agenda adjourned the sitting at 6.45pm till Tuesday (today) to meet at 10am.

Motion against street crimes ruled out of order

Earlier, the adjournment motion of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman regarding an alarming rise in street crimes across Karachi was opposed by Senior Minister Khuhro.

The minister said full attention was being paid to curb the menace of street crimes by increasing vigilance, police patrolling and other measures.

He was of the view that such minor crimes did take place in other big cities in the world.

Mr Khuhro said that technically the motion did not meet the merit of an adjournment motion. The chair, Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza who was presiding over the session at the time, termed the motion not maintainable and ruled it out of order. In response to the call-attention notice of MQM’s Sumita Afzal regarding outbreak of H1N1 strain flu in the city, Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro informed the house that no person died of this particular disease.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018