KARACHI: Amid opposition’s protest, the Sindh Assembly on Monday adopted two resolutions through which it condemned Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Prime Minister Imran Khan for talking about “division” of Sindh and issuing a “pro-Modi” statement, respectively.
Despite strong opposition by the MQM-P and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, both the resolutions were passed “unanimously” as when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani put them before the house, the opposition members were loudly condemning the government and did not raise their dissenting voice on time.
It was expected that proceedings of the day’s sitting in the house would not be smooth as many issues had already surfaced during the three-week hiatus of the current session. The treasury members were not in a mood to allow the opposition benches to repeat what they had done on the issue of the Public Accounts Committee.
In the dying minutes of the day’s proceedings, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was allowed by the speaker to furnish a policy statement.
Mr Shah, after congratulating the house and the people of Sindh about Thar coal project’s connection with the national grid, spoke at length about how the project was conceived by slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto around 25 years ago.
Despite opposition’s protest, the house ‘unanimously’ demands apology from Dr Khalid Maqbool and the PM
He said the Sindh government would pay for the use of up to 100 units of electricity for the people of Islamkot. Besides, the NED University of Engineering and Technology was establishing a campus in Thar, which would soon become an independent university.
Besides, a university with variety of disciplines would also be opened in the desert district. He said Thar power project was no less of a success than making Pakistan a nuclear state.
Opposition protest as Murad berates MQM-P, PTI
He then said there was bad news with him for the opposition benches.
“The bad news is,” he said, “that the 18th Amendment [to] the Constitution is going nowhere. It is here to stay.”
In a thinly veiled reference to the MQM-P, he said the same party was speaking against the 18th Amendment which was front runner with the PPP in drafting and getting it passed and wanted more radical changes in the draft.
Commenting on Federal Minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui’s recent statement, he said: “Those who wanted to cut Sindh into pieces have themselves [been] cut into uncountable pieces.”
He was in the middle of his fiery statement, when the members of the MQM-P followed by their PTI colleagues stood and loudly opposed him. Their mikes were turned off as the chair did not allow them to speak. Mr Shah said the PPP was still following its leader, while the MQM-P had changed many leaders.
He said Article 149 of the Constitution clearly stated it was the provincial government which had the power to implement every project no matter if it fell in the mandate of the federal government, which could only issue directions.
Mr Shah fiercely criticised the PTI-led government for bringing unprecedented price hike and making the life of common people difficult.
During his speech, members of the PTI and the MQM-P continued to oppose him and many of them had moved in front of the chair and chanted anti-government slogans.
PA condemns Khalid Maqbool’s statement
Women Development Minister Shehla Raza’s resolution said: “This house condemns the prejudicial statement of MQM leader [and] federal minister Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui about the division of Sindh province in two parts.
“This is an anti-patriotic statement attending to differences and hatred amongst the people of Sindh.
“This house believes in unity, peace and prosperity of the people of the province of Sindh. Therefore, this statement appears to be an attempt to divide the people of Sindh on the basis of caste, creed, language, sect and religion.
“This house shares its deep concern over this statement of the MQM leader and demands an apology from Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui to the people of Sindh.”
Ms Raza said the MQM-P’s recent statement did not do justice to the people of a province, the assembly of which was the first that passed a resolution for the creation of Pakistan.
She said it was Gen Ziaul Haq, and not Z.A. Bhutto, who had perpetuated the quota system against which the MQM had based its politics.
“MQM has been part of various governments, yet, it never demanded nullifying the quota system.”
She said: “There is no Mohajir in Pakistan except for Afghans who will go back to their country. Sindh is a land of various colours, and we should add beauty to it.”
Speaker Durrani put the resolution before the house when many opposition members were protesting against the treasury benches. They, surprisingly, did not oppose the resolution, thus allowing it to get passed “unanimously”.
Imran’s apology sought on ‘pro-Modi’ statement
Another resolution was moved by PPP’s Nida Khuhro, in which she criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for making a statement “in favour of [Indian Prime Minister] Narendra Modi”.
She said that PM Khan “should apologise to the people of Pakistan”.
The resolution stated: “On the eve of a general election in India, the Prime Minister of Pakistan has stated clear preference for incumbent Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, as a better choice for Pakistan if re-elected. This statement is shocking, unprecedented and condemnable.
“This house shows grave concern that a sitting PM has declared preference for the candidate who endorses the systematic oppression of Muslims of India in general and Kashmir in particular as well as demonization of Pakistan as a matter of policy.
“This house demands that Imran Khan take his statement back and apologise to the nation.”
Sindhi in schools
Earlier, Education Minister Sardar Shah declared in the house that most of 245 private schools being run on Cambridge System had agreed in writing with the education department that they would be teaching Sindhi from next academic year.
He was responding to a calling-attention notice of opposition lawmaker Nand Kumar.
“I have got letters from most schools that they would be teaching Sindhi from July 1; the remaining have also agreed and will be sending it in writing to us in coming days,” he said.
He said teaching Sindhi would allow those people of Sindh who could not read or write the language to be introduced to the great treasure of one of the ancient languages of the region.
Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019