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Uproar in Sindh Assembly after deputy speaker rejects PTI leader’s motion

Updated July 16, 2019

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The house is told that the governor has given his assent to the bill to revive Police Order. — APP/File
The house is told that the governor has given his assent to the bill to revive Police Order. — APP/File

KARACHI: Lawmakers belonging to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf launched a protest in the Sindh Assembly on Monday when Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari did not allow their parliamentary party leader Haleem Adil Shaikh to table a privilege motion.

Mr Shaikh’s privilege motion was about certain “derogatory” remarks allegedly uttered by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla.

Mr Chawla, he added, uttered those words in the house on two occasions when a privilege motion filed by various female members belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party against Mr Shaikh was under discussion.

The PTI leader said he had criticised certain female members belonging to the PPP who had used inappropriate language against him but he had not crossed the limits as he always respected women.

The house is told that the governor has given his assent to the bill to revive Police Order

He said Mr Chawla had misstated about everything involving him and even the basis on which a privilege motion was moved against Mr Shaikh was fabricated from “those false statements”.

He demanded his privilege motion be admitted and sent to the privilege committee for further discussion.

Quoting various rules of procedure, Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani opposed the motion that enraged the mover.

Instead of listening to the chair, Mr Shaikh asked the chair to allow him to furnish arguments on admissibility of the motion. He also criticised the government and countered the minister’s stance against his motion.

Minister Ghani quoted various rules to argue that no statement by any member in the house could be used by other members to form basis for a privilege motion. “Else, hardly any member from that [opposition] side could be spared.”

He said the opposition members from the big parties, PTI in particular, had frequently been using words against the chief minister and other treasury members that could easily be used for drafting privilege motions by the PPP lawmakers against them.

He advised the PTI lawmaker to furnish his argument in the privilege committee when it would take up a privilege motion against Mr Shaikh.

Deputy Speaker Leghari ruled the motion out of order at which opposition members, mainly from the PTI, stood and protested.

There were words from the PTI’s benches which were inaudible to those sitting in the galleries at which the chair said such words could not threaten her.

“You cannot threaten me by [using] such words,” she said.

The protest by the opposition members was continuing when the chair fixed debate on an adjournment motion moved by PPP’s Heer Soho on continuous devaluation of Pakistani rupee for next Monday.

She also announced that the governor gave his nod to the Sindh (Repeal of the Police Act, 1861 and Revival of Police Order 2002) (Amendment) Bill, 2019.

After laying before the assembly the third quarter’s budget execution report 2018-19, the chair adjourned the session for Tuesday (today) while the opposition benches were still protesting against her ruling.

46,129 plots in LDA’s Scheme 42 allotted

In response to a calling-attention notice of Abdul Rasheed of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal, LG Minister Ghani told the house that the government had allotted 46,129 plots in phases in Lyari Development Authority’s Scheme 42 (Hawkesbay).

However, he said that due to various issues the plots could not be handed over to those who had got such allotments.

He said there were issues between the Board of Revenue and LDA. However, the government had asked the authorities concerned to settle them.

Besides, he added, several people had moved court on allotment issues and in a number of such cases there were certain stay orders.

Mr Ghani said in one judgement, the court allowed for out-of-court settlement. He said before going to handle the litigation matters the government had asked the BoR to settle its issues with the LDA.

The chair adjourned the house for five minutes when a member from the PTI suggested that the quorum was not complete, meaning less than 42 members were present in the house.

Later, when the house met again the PPP brought 53 of its members while there were just eight members on the opposition benches, including three from Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and MMA. Later, major opposition parties — the PTI, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance — returned.

Upon PTI’s Adeeba Hasan’s notice, Education Minister Sardar Shah said the government had sanctioned a scheme under which reverse-osmosis plants would be made available in schools, including the ones she indicated in Karachi’s district South.

Mr Ghani said on another calling-attention notice by PTI’s Shahzad Awan that there was a general problem of water shortage in Karachi West. However, his department was trying to make sure every area was supplied with required water.

PPP’s Heer Soho raised the issue of violation of the government’s order for conclusion of weddings in halls by 12am. She said many wedding halls in Karachi and elsewhere were not abiding by the government instructions.

The LG minister said he was not in charge of the department concerned and advised her to move the issue again by addressing the home department.

Encroachments on the rise again

PTI’s Riaz Haider said encroachment was on the rise in the city again and many areas, district Central in particular, were witnessing rapid encroachment.

He said the Rasheed Turabi Road in North Nazimabad was almost encroached upon where even certain government departments were involved in such illegal activity.

Mr Ghani admitted that encroachments were a major issue in the city as municipal bodies lacked ample resources to tackle the matter effectively.

He said many major streets had been cleared during a recent anti-encroachment drive ordered by the apex court. However, people were returning again.

Mr Ghani said that the government was mulling over a scheme to register all pushcart vendors at union committee/council level who were permitted to do business.

However, by no means they would be allowed to stop at a particular venue, he said, adding: “These vendors will require to be moving from one street to another.”

He made it clear that the provincial government did not want to take measures that could cause joblessness among people.

PPP’s Nadir Magsi said on a point of order that issue of water management was serious in his area in the north of Sindh. He said certain influential people in the area affiliated with the PPP were involved in the water crisis.

“Water is our lifeline, but these people who are affiliated with the Peoples Party are involved in worsening water distribution, which is also harming our party’s reputation,” he said.

He said the issue could not be resolved without using Rangers. He asked the chief minister to take the issue seriously.

PTI’s Ramzan Ghanchi said the vice chairman of his area’s union committee, who was allegedly involved in shooting him six months ago, had not been arrested yet.

He accused the PPP of protecting the accused at which LG Minister Ghani dismissed his allegation and asked him to produce evidence that the PTI member claimed to have in his possession in court.

Published in Dawn, July 16th, 2019