KARACHI: Lawmakers were left amused in the Sindh Assembly on Monday when Minorities Affairs Minister Hari Ram Kishori Lal could not furnish acceptable and reasonable replies to verbal queries of opposition members on the floor.

“His replies are entirely irrelevant to what he is asked,” was the observation of the apparently amused lawmakers who rose to pose supplementary questions on the enlisted written questions during Question Hour in the house.

While Minister Ram had to cut a sorry figure by telling the askers that he would certainly furnish all details later, Senior Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla came to his rescue giving some information and details of the matters.

In reply to a written question asked by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf member Sidra Imran, he said that Rs750 million was earmarked for granting scholarships to students belonging to the minorities in the province.

He said the scholarship grants were awarded to the students on merit through crossed cheques on the recommendation of the Non-Muslim Welfare Committee of Minorities constituted by the provincial government.

The minister said that the committee comprised senators, members of the Sindh Assembly and National Assembly and notable personalities of the minorities. “All scholarships are awarded after strict scrutiny,” he said.

Answering another written question by Ms Imran, the minister said that Rs14.645m was earmarked in the regular budget of the ministry to hold conferences, seminars, workshops and exhibitions at the divisional level.

In reply to a verbal question, he said the ministry did not spend any money on celebration of minority events and festivals.

Responding to a written question by PTI member Mohammad Aslam Abro, Mr Ram said there were 42 temples, three churches and two gurdwaras in Jacobabad district.

He said that police were deployed at sensitive worship places of the minorities in the province as part of security measures.

Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019