KARACHI: As major opposition parties boycotted the proceedings of the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday, the house unanimously adopted two resolutions for withdrawal of the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance and for action against those responsible for the arrest of retired Captain Safdar.
At the outset of the proceedings, the house echoed with slogans and counter slogans by members of both sides of the aisle when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani did not allow the opposition to move a resolution against remarks made by Mehmood Khan Achakzai against Urdu in the Karachi public meeting of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).
Lawmakers belonging to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan chanted slogans Urdu ko Izzat do (Give respect to Urdu) and Qaumi zaban ko izzat do (respect the national language) and gathered in front of the speaker’s rostrum.
The protesting members then boycotted the proceedings as the ruling party members also started chanting slogan Sindh police ko izzat do (Give respect to police).
A PTI member, Shaharyar Khan Shar, and the members of Grand Democratic Alliance, which is an ally in the PTI-led federal government, however, distanced themselves from the boycott.
Speaker disallows PTI, MQM to move a resolution against Achakzai’s alleged anti-Urdu remarks
While concluding the debate on the two resolutions, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah categorically said that the provincial government would not hold talks with the centre until the PIDA Ordinance, 2020 was withdrawn.
On the resolution against the ordinance, Murad termed it “unconstitutional” and “against” the integrity of Sindh.
“The president can issue an ordinance but cannot do it unconstitutionally as they (representatives of federal government) didn’t even know the names of islands,” he added.
Murad Ali Shah said that the federal government had earlier approached them telling him that the centre wanted to develop the islands.
“The federal government was told that the islands could be made available on condition that the rights of local community and fishermen would be safeguarded,” he said while making it clear that the provincial government didn’t issue a no-objection certificate.
The chief minister said that after issuance of the ordinance on Sept 2, the provincial cabinet meeting was called and the centre was informed that the ordinance was not acceptable as “the islands were properties of people of Sindh”.
Responding to a federal minister’s remarks that the centre was not taking the islands to Islamabad, the chief minister said: “Take it (islands) to Islamabad if you have courage to take even an inch of Sindh.”
He vowed that he would never go against the interests of the province.
He came down heavily on the centre saying that PTI-led federal government never let any opportunity to mete out injustice to Sindh go.
“They (PTI) are not capable (of running the country’s affairs). It happened for the first time in Pakistan’s history that the federal government didn’t increase provinces’ share in the National Finance Commission for the past two years,” he said, adding that the provincial government received Rs65 billion lesser than its share in first three months of the current fiscal year.
‘Safdar nabbed in uncivilised manner’
Speaking on the arrest of PML-N leader Capt Safdar, the chief minister said that he was nabbed in an uncivilised manner while the police were also disrespected. “We stand besides our police and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari directed to expose the elements behind that,” he added.
The resolution, moved by PPP member Mahmood Alam Jamote, said that the president had promulgated the ordinance in “sheer and utter” violation of the Constitution.
“The ordinance was promulgated in an unlawful manner and in violation of Article 97 of the Constitution to give unauthorised and unlawful control as well as ownership of Bundal and Buddo Islands to the federal government which exclusively belong to the province of Sindh. All islands along the coast of a province are the exclusive property of the respective provincial government in view of the provisions of Article 172 of the Constitution,” the resolution read.
It added that the people of Sindh cannot allow any violation of the Constitution as well as usurpation of rights over the ownership of Bundal and Buddo Islands or any other right or property of the province of Sindh; the federal government or any of its authorities does not have any right or interest over islands along the coast of Pakistan which islands exclusively belong to the respective provincial governments and in particular the Bundal and Buddo Islands exclusively belong to the province of Sindh.
“The provincial assembly of Sindh resolves and recommends to the provincial government to take all possible steps to protect the boundaries and property of Sindh and demands the federal government to immediately advise the president to withdraw the ordinance forthwith,” the resolution demanded.
PTI member votes for island resolution
PTI member from Ghotki Shar defied his party and went on to support the resolution which was against the decision of his federal government.
“I haven’t boycotted the session. My conscious does not allow me to stay away as Sindh is our motherland. I know that I would be under pressure from the party to retract from my stance which I won’t as I am son of Sindh,” he said.
Later, the house unanimously adopted another resolution moved by Dr Sohrab Sarki of the PPP.
It read: “This house expresses serious concern and reservation over the unfortunate incident that took place on the night of 18th October 2020 and demands that the investigation announced by the government of Sindh and the chief of army staff would be brought to its logical ends and all those responsible would be identified and subsequently penalised.”
Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020