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Seven MQM, PTI defectors return to PA as PSP members

Updated February 24, 2018

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LAWMAKERS belonging to the PSP speak to the media outside the Sindh Assembly on Friday.—PPI
LAWMAKERS belonging to the PSP speak to the media outside the Sindh Assembly on Friday.—PPI

KARACHI: Seven lawmakers originally belonging to the Mutt­ahida Qaumi Movement and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf but who had defected to the Mustafa Kamal-led Pak Sarzameen Party on Friday attended the Sindh Assembly session after a long absence.

The lawmakers — Muhammad Dilawar, Sheeraz Waheed, Bilqees Mukhtar, Irtiza Farooqui, Meh­mood Razzaq, Abdullah Shaikh of the MQM and Syed Hafe­ezuddin of the PTI — had announced their resignations when they joined the PSP.

However, they never sent their resignations to the assembly secretariat.

They were also accompanied by PSP leader Dr Saghir Ahmed, whose resignation from the assembly was accepted when he joined the PSP. He was sitting in the speaker’s gallery.

Disappointed with grouping, 33 MQM lawmakers remain absent from the session

The session was adjourned till Monday as a mark of respect to the demise of Sindh Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani and his wife Fareeha Razzaq Haroon, also a former MPA.

After the session, PSP leader Waseem Aftab told media that his party had formally formed its parliamentary group by attending the session. “Today is the day of extreme pain for the enemies of peace and agents of RAW. PSP would fully participate in parliamentary politics and work for restoration of peace.”

‘Strangers in house’

MQM MPA Mehfoozyar Khan, however, demanded that the resignations of the lawmakers who defected to the PSP be accepted forthwith.

After Mr Aftab, he told reporters that his party had approached the Election Commission of Pakistan urging it to expedite the process of acceptance of the resignation of the defectors.

He condemned “the presence of strangers in the house who were elected on an MQM ticket but representing the PSP”. He said the ECP ought to take notice of this.

However, Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hasan of the MQM told media that the PSP members had come to the house only to cast their vote in the Senate elections to be held on March 3.

Talking to media before the session, Khawaja Izhar said that due to grouping within the MQM, our MPAs were so disappointed that only four of the 37 turned up to attend the session.

He said he himself came today to pay tribute to late Bijarani but “if this grouping continues, I will also consider not attending the session anymore”.

Tributes to Bijarani

The house offered fateha for late Bijarani and his wife and expressed condolence with the bereaved family.

The lawmakers also passed a resolution paying rich tributes to Mr Bijarani for his selfless services to Sindh and Pakistan.

Senior Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro read out the resolution, expressing deep grief on his death, recognised his unwavering commitment to and efforts for sustained democracy, his contribution to the betterment and development of Sindh.

Earlier, when the house was called to order at 11.20am by Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and other legislators from both sides of the aisle paid rich tributes to late Bijarani.

The CM said that he was a principled and articulate politician and his death had grieved all of us. “He was a close associate of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and also a colleague of mine and my father Abdullah Shah since ’70s when he used to be the youngest member of the Sindh Assembly.”

His wife, Fareeha Razzaq Haroon, had also been a member of the assembly, he added.

The house also offered fateha for eminent lawyer Asma Jahangir, Naqeebullah Mehsud and observed one-minute silence on the demise of the mother of Nand Kumar, the parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2018