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KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly’s session could not be resumed as per schedule on Thursday as Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani deferred it till April 8 citing incomplete quorum.

The session was to be resumed after more than a week’s recess. However, merely half a dozen or so members in a house of 168 were in attendance, with proceedings starting more than an hour after the scheduled time.

Speaker Durrani said the quorum was seriously incomplete and adjourned the session for more than a fortnight.

Meanwhile, a meeting of the newly-elected Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was held at the assembly building in which ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s Ghulam Qadir Chandio was elected chairman.

The PAC was the key reason behind the persistent protest by the three large opposition parties —Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, and Grand Democratic Alliance — which wanted it to be headed by the leader of the opposition.

A notification issued by the Sindh Assembly’s secretariat on Thursday said Mr Chandio had been elected chairman of the PAC as required under the Rules of Procedure of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh.

Opposition reaction

Leaders of the opposition parties reacted strongly against the “one-sided deferral” of the assembly’s session saying it was a disgrace to the mandate of the masses.

Opposition leader in the house Firdous Naqvi and parliamentary leaders of the PTI, MQM-P and GDA, Haleem Shaikh, Kunwar Naveed, and Husnain Mirza respectively questioned the speaker’s ruling on adjourning the session.

They claimed the session was adjourned without counting of members present in the assembly hall. They termed it a form of “civil dictatorship” in Sindh.

Mr Shaikh claimed the assembly session was continuing “only to issue production orders for the persons [members] arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in corruption cases”, in a clear jibe at the speaker.

The opposition leaders said the lawmakers “who should be sent to jail are being made members of the PAC”.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2019