QUETTA: Legislators belonging to the opposition Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) walked out of the Balochistan Assembly on Tuesday evening in protest against the tabling of a bill seeking to replace the name of Sibi University with Mir Chakar Khan Rind University.

The bill was moved by Education Minister Tahir Mehmood Khan. Speaker Raheela Hameed Khan Durrani referred it to the standing committee concerned for discussion and its recommendations.

Speaking on a point of order, former education minister and PkMAP parliamentary leader Abdul Rahim Ziaratwal said the establishment of a university in Sibi was included in the federal Public Sector Development Programme and it was approved in 2014. He said the provincial cabinet had also taken up this project as Sibi University, adding that the provincial assembly had no powers to change the name of the university.

PkMAP legislators tear copies of assembly agenda, walk out of house

“It was a federal government project and written in the budget documents as Sibi University,” Mr Ziaratwal said and demanded that the same name be adopted in the house. He said three other universities in Turbat, Loralai and Khuzdar had also been approved by the federal government in the budget 2014.

Mr Mehmood and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI-F) MPA Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetiran, while responding to Mr Ziaratwal’s objection, said the speaker had referred the bill to the standing committee and whatever suggestions made by it would be accepted.

In the meanwhile, the PkMAP lawmakers and JUI-F’s Sardar Khetiran stood up and started speaking on the issue. They were countered by some members from the treasury benches in the same manner.

The lawmakers from both sides also exchanged harsh wards. During the uproar that continued for some time, the PkMAP legislators tore the copies of the assembly agenda and walked out of the house.

Former chief minister Dr Malik Baloch, while taking the floor of the house, said the assembly was the highest democratic forum and members should talk in the house in a democratic manner and respect each other’s viewpoint. He said the decision should be taken with majority and all members should play their role in this regard. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Syed Agha Raza informed the house that according to rules of business, the assembly had the powers to change the name of a university.

National Party MPA Mir Khalid Langove criticised the opposition members and said “we will not compromise on the name of Mir Chakar Khan Rind”.

The house also referred the Balochistan University of Engineering and Technology, Khuzdar, bill and the child marriage bill to the standing committee concerned for review.

Published in Dawn, February 28th, 2018