KARACHI: Sindh Minister for Livestock and Fisheries Abdul Bari Pitafi on Monday informed the provincial assembly that two Congo virus cases were reported in Sindh in the recent past and that the two were traced to animals brought from Balochistan.

Furnishing a statement and replying to the written and verbal queries of lawmakers during Question Hour in the house, he said animals act as a reservoir for the virus, which remained ‘asymptomatic’ (without showing any sign and didn’t cause any major pathological lesion).

“The virus is zoonotic in nature which causes infection to humans while in contact with infected or reservoir animals through ticks. The majority of cases were reported in people involved in the livestock business, such as livestock farm workers, butchers and veterinarians. Congo virus infection is most commonly reported in the Afghan border region of Balochistan. Some studies suggested that cases of Congo virus in humans are the coinciding event during Eidul Azha, which reflects that animal movement during Eidul Azha from Balochistan might be facilitating the transmission of the virus,” he added.

The minister said that the department was only providing anthelmintic drugs to the animals within its jurisdiction to kill ticks that carried Congo virus.

Speaker Durrani rules PTI lawmaker’s privilege motion against Sindh House out of order

To a question, he said that they didn’t know the actual numbers of livestock in the province as local farms were not registered.

“The department has initiated the registration process of the local farms,” he added.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf lawmaker Dr Seema Zia asked how the minister would ensure vaccination of the animals when he didn’t even know their actual numbers.

The minister said that two Congo virus cases were reported in Sindh in the recent past traced to the animals brought from Balochistan.

‘Sindh House doesn’t accommodate MPAs’

Moving a privilege motion, PTI member Arsalan Taj said that the Sindh House in Islamabad did not accommodate the assembly’s members as he was also refused accommodation by the house’s administration.

“We demand explanation from the administration of the Sindh House Islamabad regarding refusal to provide accommodation to the respectable members of this august house. Despite various correspondence to the Sindh House either ... individually or through the Secretariat of the Provincial Assembly of Sindh, the administration of the Sindh House Islamabad behaviour towards the members of Provincial Assembly of Sindh is highly unprofessional,” the motion read.

Mr Taj said that it was also reported that residents of other provinces had occupied various rooms in Sindh House Islamabad through ‘personal connections’ but MPAs belonging to Sindh were treated ‘disrespectfully’.

He demanded an examination committee be formed to further probe this matter and submit a report within 10 days.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla opposed the privilege motion and said that the PTI MPA was denied the accommodation due to unavailability of rooms. However, he said that the PTI member was provided a car by Sindh House Islamabad. Later, the speaker ruled the motion out of order.

PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that Sindh House Islamabad should be fixed for MPAs belonging to Sindh till renovation.

Mr Naqvi had tendered his resignation as the Opposition Leader to PTI chairman and Prime Minister Imran Khan the other day and it was yet to be accepted.

Agha Siraj Durrani said that Sindh House Islamabad should be under control of the provincial assembly.

PA calls for better traffic plan during PSL

The parliamentary affairs minister said that a proper traffic plan would be adopted during the upcoming Pakistan Super League to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and reduce miseries for the people.

Khurram Sher Zaman of the PTI complained that the people faced severe hardships during PSL matches as roads leading to the National Stadium were blocked with containers.

“The players should be given due security but at the same time citizens should not be disturbed,” he added.

Minister Chawla said that giving foolproof security to the teams playing in the PSL was their responsibility. “We will call DIG traffic to make a comprehensive plan during the tournament to reduce miseries of the citizens,” the minister said.

The house also accepted an adjournment motion moved by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Kulsoom Chandio regarding hike in petroleum prices. The discussion was fixed for next week.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2021

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