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KARACHI: After a brief discussion, the Sindh Assembly on Monday unanimously adopted the Sindh Regularisation of Teachers Appointed on Contract Basis Bill, 2018.

Under this bill all schoolteachers appointed on contract in 2014 through the National Testing Service (NTS) will stand regularised after assent to the bill by the Sindh governor.

After its introduction by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, when the bill was taken up for consideration MQM parliamentary party leader Syed Sardar Ahmad inquired if the quota system was kept in view while making recruitment of the teachers. If not, he said, it amounted to a violation of the basic law.

Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar said that 21,500 teachers were recruited under an agreement with the World Bank to meet a shortage of primary schoolteachers on the union council basis.

Responding to the general discussion in which besides Sardar Ahmad, Samar Ali Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Mehtab Akbar Rashdi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional participated, Senior Minister Khuhro said these teachers were recruited on merit through NTS tests. They had been working since 2012 and their contracts were regularised after every three years. As their regularisation required a legal cover, the cabinet had approved the bill for legislation.

MQM lawmaker asks if quota was followed while recruiting teachers

The second bill, which was also on the order of the day, was the Sindh Sales Tax on Services (Amendment) Bill, 2018. After its introduction by Mr Khuhro on his motion, its consideration was deferred till Wednesday.

Earlier Syed Sardar Ahmad pointed out that he had written a letter to the chief minister for deferring the bill to sort out ambiguity on rental income. Mr Khuhro said as the bill had already been included in the agenda, it was not possible to exclude it from the order of the day. However, its consideration was being deferred till Wednesday.

Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who called the house in order at 3.50pm when it reassembled after a two-day break, adjourned the session after completion of the business from the agenda till Tuesday at 10am.

Earlier the adjournment motion of Khurram Sher Zaman regarding corruption in government funds for Larkana development was brought up. When tabled, it was opposed by Mr Khuhro pointing out that it was a sub judice matter as the case was in court. When the mover of the motion insisted on discussion, Speaker Durrani drew his attention to the rules of business saying “we can’t discuss any matter which is under consideration of court. As such your motion can’t be taken up in the assembly.”

The chair also informed the house that the Sindh governor had given assent to the Sindh Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill, 2017.

Responding to the calling-attention notice of Nusrat Bano Sahar Abbasi of the PML-F regarding illegal occupation of the plot of Khairpur Commercial College by some influential persons, Education Minister Dahar said the education department had taken its notice and filed a petition in the court of senior civil judge whose hearing was due in two or three days.

Health Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro said the complaint of Saeed Khan Nizamani of the PML-F about a shortage of doctors and medicines at the Civil Hospital Sanghar was correct until sometime back, but now after recruitment of doctors more than 200 doctors had been posted in different district hospitals and some 84 medicines were also made available in the hospitals. He said against the 36 vacancies in the Civil Hospital Sanghar 30 doctors were now available.

In reply to the calling-attention notice of Sorath Thebo of the PML-N regarding rising incidents of kidnappings in Shikarpur, where recently Rafique Chachar, Abdul Ghafoor Chachar, Abdul Wahab Chachar and Shahnoor Buriro were kidnapped, Home Minister Sohail Anwar Sial said an encounter had taken place between outlaws and the police and one person was also arrested. He said he hoped that the government would soon recover the kidnapped persons.

Drugs around schools

Mr Sher Zaman of the PTI through his notice had drawn the attention of the house towards the sale of different kinds of drugs outside schools and colleges in Karachi. The home minister said that although the narcotics subject related to the federal government, he had inquired from all three deputy inspectors general, who said that they had not received any such complaint in writing. However, he had given them directives to get reports about narcotics operators, and take severe action against them.

Through a point of order, Ghulam Qadir Chandio of the Pakistan Peoples Party demanded holding of talks with lower-grade staff of the education department in Nawabshah to solve their genuine problems. Their delegation was now agitating in Karachi to get their problems solved.

Speaker Durrani said instead of raising the issue in the assembly, “Why don’t you take up the matter with the education minister to get their problems solved?”

During the session Mr Durrani asked Nisar Khuhro to send some ministers to meet a number of protesting journalists to solve their problems. Home Minister Sial responding to the ruling of the speaker informed the house that he had talked about their complaint with the senior superintendents of police of Badin, Hyderabad and Naushahro Feroze, who had promised to submit their report within three days.

Published in Dawn, February 27th, 2018