KARACHI: The atmosphere in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday became tense when Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza, presiding over the session, had to call a sergeant-at-arms to remove MQM lawmaker Muhammad Hussain from the house. However, timely intervention by Leader of the Opposition Khwaja Izharul Hassan calmed the chair, who appeared quite jittery as the altercation with Mr Hussain was the third such episode on Thursday.
During the Question Hour, Muhammad Hussain was given the floor to ask a supplementary question. Before asking the question, he advised the chair to avoid threatening use of power while not allowing legislators to speak. This suggestion did not go well with Ms Raza and she told the MPA: “You come to the house rarely, but when come, you pick up one issue or another.”
Mr Hussain said: “You can’t do anything. Only members can do something.”
The deputy speaker retorted: “Whatever you like, you are at liberty to do. My attitude would remain the same. What may happen to you, you don’t know.” The MPA responded: “Don’t worry about us, take care of yourself”.
Homage paid to Fatima Jinnah, Raana Liaquat, Benazir Bhutto and Asma Jahangir on Women’s Day
As the altercation prolonged, she got his mike turned off and in rage told him: “What do you know about my background that you would spill the beans. I know very well who is who and whose family lives where.”
She called the sergeant-at-arms and told him to take Mr Hussain out of the house.
Opposition leader Khwaja Izharul Hasan, rising in his seat, tried to pacify the situation. The chair appeared quite upset and told him: “You and other senior lawmakers instead of asking your colleague to behave, act as spectators.” She said she would not allow Mr Hussain to stay in the house and gave the floor to Mr Mahmood of the Pak Sarzameen Party to ask a supplementary question.
The sergeant-at-arms, who had left his chair to act, looked to the assembly secretary for his nod. By the time, as sense prevailed, the chair told the sergeant to sit down.
The immediate cause of the fuss was the deputy speaker’s refusal to allow Khurram Sher Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to ask a supplementary question. He had alleged that jobs were being given on fake domiciles and asked why that was happening.
The chair told him that he became puzzled while asking a question and tried to get a spot on news channels. Mr Sher Zaman, responding to the remarks, said it was his ‘enemies’ who were perplexed.
Shehla Raza told him to sit down as he had asked the question, but he said his question was incomplete.
At that point, Senior Minister Nisar Khuhro intervened and said: “All this fuss is being created to be on the media.”
This exchange of remarks disturbed the assembly proceedings before normality returned to the house.
Earlier, before taking up formal business from the order of the day, Mehfoozyar Khan of the MQM asked the deputy speaker to expunge her remarks passed against him on Wednesday when she had said: “The voices raised are not of human beings, but of barking.”
The chair, instead of responding to Mr Khan’s plea asked him if three members standing at a time on the opposition benches was appropriate. She told him to take his seat or she would pass a specific order. Protesting over the threat, Mehfoozyar Khan staged a walkout and said on Friday again he would raise the question that some strange persons were sitting in the house, which was against the rules.
International Women’s Day
Being March 8, which was International Women’s Day, the chair took up resolutions jointly tabled by lawmakers on the importance of the day.
The resolutions were read out one after the other by Saira Shaliani and Nusrat Sultana of the Pakistan Peoples Party; Bilquis Mukhtar and Raana Ansar of the MQM and Nand Kumar Goklani of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional.
The resolutions recalled that it was a day when women were recognised for their achievements without any discrimination.
Through the resolutions, the lawmakers paid homage to Fatima Jinnah, Begum Raana Liaquat Ali Khan, Benazir Bhutto, Asma Jahangir and others.
The resolutions also demanded that the federal and Sindh governments take more measures to ensure protection of women’s social, political and legal rights in accordance with the Constitution.
Published in Dawn, March 9th, 2018