KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday echoed with lawmakers’ concern over the coronavirus pandemic when the house paid rich tributes to late MPA and minister Ghulam Murtaza Baloch who died of Covid-19.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah moved a resolution in the house that was also approved by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Grand Democratic Alliance and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal.

Paying rich tributes to the late MPA, he said that Mr Baloch was a humble and courteous person. “Our many beloved ones departed … during the coronavirus pandemic,” he added.

With tears in his eyes, the CM termed the Covid-19 an azmaish (test) saying: “We have to face it with courage as we cannot fight it because it is a test given by Allah Almighty.”

PPP’s Sharmila Farooqui takes oath on women-reserved seat

He also paid rich tributes to all front-line doctors, paramedics and personnel of Rangers and police who lost their lives due to the virus. “They all are performing their duties with courage by [putting] their own lives at stake,” he said.

Expressing his dismay over holding of the assembly’s session, he said that the sitting should have been adjourned to condole the death of the PPP lawmaker without any business other than prayer for late Baloch being taken up as per tradition of the assembly.

“The very next sitting of the Sindh Assembly is adjourned after demise of a sitting MPA as per tradition of the assembly, but this tradition unfortunately came to an end as a new member took oath of affirmation,” he added.

“Our member has embraced martyrdom and this tradition should have not been ended. The sitting could be adjourned symbolically for just an hour as the session is summoned on the opposition requisition,” the CM opined.

Opposition Leader Firdaus Shamim Naqvi said they would not oppose even if the session was adjourned till the soyem of the late lawmaker.

PTI parliamentary party leader Haleem Adil Sheikh while paying tribute to the late PPP MPA said that he was a humble person.

“The late MPA embraced martyrdom while saving people,” he added.

MMA lawmaker Syed Abdul Rasheed, who had recovered from the novel coronavirus, said that MPA Baloch inquired after his health twice during his quarantine period. He said many doctors and health workers had also laid down their lives while saving others.

Rashid Khilji and Mangla Sharma of the MQM-P, GDA’s Husnain Mirza and Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, PPP’s Shaheen Baloch, Heer Soho Kulsoom Chandio, Zulfikar Shah and Shahid Thaheem and PTI’s Khurram Sher Zaman, Dr Imran Ali Shah, Raja Azhar and others also prayed for their late colleague and those who died in Pakistan International Airline’s crash.

Sharmila takes oath

During the sitting, Sharmila Farooqui of the PPP took oath on a seat reserved for women.

She replaced her party colleague Shahnaz Ansari, who was shot dead in Naushahro Feroze recently.

Later, the house was adjourned till Thursday (today) at 11am after Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla moved a motion seeking adjournment of the sitting.

Session with precautionary measures

As per standard operating procedures, major precautionary measures were adopted before and during the first assembly sitting during the lockdown as all members were going through Covid-19 testing.

The members were asked to wear face masks and pass through sanitizer gates installed on the assembly premises. Only a limited number of members was participating in the session whereas no passes were issued to visitors to witness the house proceedings.

Besides, the staffers were also said to be screened ahead of the session.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2020