KARACHI: The major opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly, including the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, supported the Pakistan Peoples Party in the house against the decisions of the PTI-led coalition in the Centre as the provincial lawmakers unanimously adopted two resolutions condemning the appointment of a federal government representative in the Indus River System Authority (Irsa) and the removal of former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed from the national cricket squad.
At the outset of the assembly session, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah rose in his seat to seek Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani’s permission to invite the attention of the house towards the appointment of Irsa member from Punjab instead of Sindh.
“It is a matter of grave concern and highly deplorable that the prime minister did not give any importance to the protest and reservations of this house on the appointment of Irsa’s federal government representative from Punjab,” he said.
The chief minister said the federal cabinet approved the appointment of Irsa member, who belonged to Punjab, despite the fact that there were six ministers, three advisers and two special assistants belonging to Sindh in the federal cabinet. “Three of them who are Sindhi-speaking even did not attend the cabinet meeting that took the decision against the interests of Sindh,” he said.
Another unanimous resolution criticises PCB for removing Sarfaraz Ahmed from cricket team captaincy
Quoting a member of the federal cabinet, Mr Shah revealed that he was told that not a single word was uttered on the issue by the cabinet members belonging to Sindh. “It is for the first time since 1999 that the federal government representative member of Irsa did not belong to Sindh,” he said, terming it an attempt to usurp the province’s rights.
He said he had raised the issue during Monday’s session and requested the opposition members belonging to the PTI, Grand Democratic Alliance and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan to take up the issue with the prime minister during his visit to Karachi on the same day.
The chief minister said that he was told that the opposition members did voice concern of the provincial lawmakers in their respective meetings with the prime minister. “Despite this, the controversial appointment was made unilaterally,” he said.
Mr Shah said he had got a resolution drafted and would like the house members to adopt it unanimously to show their reservation over the federal government’s decision that was bound to lead to a sense of deprivation in the people of the province.
He also asked the members of the PTI, MQM-P and GDA to seek an explanation from the federal minister belonging to their respective parties that how they remained silent spectators when the federal cabinet approved the controversial appointment.
The chief minister read out the draft of the resolution and asked the opposition members if they supported it.
PTI member Haleem Adil Sheikh rose to announce that his party supported the interests of the province, but the treasury benches were trying to give the impression that only they had Sindh’s interests close to heart.
Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi stood up to say that the PTI acknowledged the preferential right of water for the lower riparian and suggested some amendments in the draft of the resolution.
The chief minister welcomed the amendments in the draft resolution, which was later read out by PPP member Ghanwer Ali Khan Isran, PTI member Haleem Adil Sheikh and MQM-P member Kunwar Naveed Jamil.
The resolution read: “This house is aggrieved by the unilateral and arbitrary act of Federal Government of appointing its nominee as member Irsa outside Sindh, which is negation and direct contravention of the past practice of the Federal Government since 1999. The objective of the decision of Federal Government in 1999 was to protect the interest of people of Pakistan living in lower riparian. The house demands the provincial government to immediately take up this issue with the Federal Government and get this unilateral and arbitrary decision withdrawn”.
MQM’s Kanwar Naveed Jamil, GDA member Husnain Mirza, Haleem Adil Shaikh, GDA member Shaharyar Mahar, MQM-P member Mohammad Hussain, PPP member Heer Ismail Soho, MQM-P member Khwaja Izharul Hasan and Firdous Shamim Naqvi spoke on the issue and said they fully supported the resolution against the federal government’s decision.
MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain moved a resolution against the removal of Sarfaraz Ahmed from captaincy of the Pakistan cricket team.
The resolution said: “This house condemns the act of removing Mr Sarfaraz Ahmed from captaincy of Pakistan cricket team by Pakistan Cricket Board authorities and also dropping him from the team membership. This house resolves and recommends to the Government of Sindh to approach the Federal Government [to] take action against the PCB authorities for taking such discriminatory decision”.
Speaking on the resolution, Mr Hussain said that a “lobby” was active against the former skipper who had a brilliant record.
The speaker adjourned the session to Friday.
Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2019