KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Saturday unanimously passed a resolution condemning the decision made by the administration of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (Fuuast) regarding suspending admissions to the Sindhi department.

Ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s Heer Soho moved a resolution in the house after Speaker Siraj Durrani suspended the day’s proceedings in which she said such a decision by Fuuast was aimed at shutting down the Sindhi department “on the pretext of resource constraints”.

“The decision of the university administration is highly discriminatory and bears no constitutional compliance. It is based upon the prejudiced ends that the university administration seeks to serve,” said the resolution.

“The house demands the federal government and government of Sindh to immediately order an inquiry into the matter and restore the previous status of admissions to the Sindhi department,” it concluded.

Ms Soho said the university’s plea for “closing a department” where 36 students were admitted for MPhil degree alone had no serious foundation.

PTI questions police failure in arresting the killers of a female medical student who was shot dead in an incident of street crime

She said the university had first suspended classes for MPhil and now the department was formally being closed.

PPP’s Shamim Mumtaz supported the resolution, saying closing such departments so abruptly was an inappropriate action. She added Sindhi was the language of Sindh and was loved by everyone living in the province.

She feared such actions would only fan ethnic hatred and harm the efforts by saner quarters to forge lasting harmony in the province. “There are certain quarters calling for carving a new province from Sindh, which has created bad blood here and closing the Sindhi department in Urdu University would only exacerbate it.”

Culture Minister Sardar Shah said shutting down the Sindhi department from an institution called Urdu University would do nothing but widen ethnic confrontation in the province.

He said there was no harm to the Urdu departments in sight in Sindh University and Shah Abdul Latif University. He said he had earlier moved a resolution in the house about reduction of seats for rural districts of Sindh — from 400 to 39 — in Karachi University which too was a “horrific” act.

Opposition supports resolution

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Jawed Hanif supported the resolution. He said finances were the real issues that led to closing of the Sindhi department.

However, he added, such pretexts should not be used as a shield to hamper academic activities in the university in any of its sections.

He said Fuuast was in the control of the federal government, but it was responsibility of the Sindh government to take care of such issues.

Grand Democratic Alliance’s Nusrat Abbasi said closure of the department was unacceptable and the provincial government should protest before the federal authorities.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Rabia Azfar also backed the resolution. She said academic activities should be expanded in the country’s educational institutions instead of reducing them.

GDA’s Hasnain Mirza supported the resolution and called upon the relevant authorities to make sure that Fuuast remained an efficient public sector university. He said the issues with the university should be taken care of by the relevant authorities.

PTI’s Jamal Siddiqui claimed the department had not been closed in the university and instead there were issues in admission policy.

The chair asked: “Are you a spokesperson of the university? Or, if you are a member of the university’s board then furnish some explanation [before the house].”

Mr Siddiqui said he was not explaining something, but he wanted to tell the house about certain information he had.

Later, the original resolution was tweaked a bit by including a demand to the government for launching an inquiry into the matter.

The chair put the resolution before the house and got it passed unanimously.

Varsity student’s killing echoes in PA

Earlier, PTI’s Arsalan Taj said the killers of Misbah, a female student of Hamdard University, who was shot dead two days ago, were roaming free with impunity.

He said four SHOs of police stations in Gulshan-i-Iqbal had been transferred and posted in a single year.

He also questioned whether the special powers given to paramilitary Rangers had been curtailed.

Information Minister Saeed Ghani said the government was aware of such tragic incidents and investigation into the Misbah murder case was continuing.

He said Rangers’ powers had not been curtailed; instead their duration had been extended.

He introduced the Sindh Prohibition of Preparation, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale and Use of Gutka, and Mainpuri Bill, 2019. The bill was referred to the law and parliamentary affairs committee to consider it for a week.

The report on first biannual monitoring on the implementation of the National Finance Commission Award for the period from July-December 2017 was laid before the house.

PPP’s Nadir Magsi said the incidence of hepatitis was on the rise in his [Qambar-Shahdadkot] district because of use of brackish water coming from Balochistan’s outfall drain.

Health Minister Azra Pechuho said there was a crisis vis-à-vis shortage of medicines in Sindh. However, she added those medicines would soon be procured and required vaccine would be provided to the hepatitis patients.

Published in Dawn, October 6th, 2019