KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday unanimously passed the Control of Narcotic Substances (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2021, making the manufacturing, selling and dispatching of methamphetamine drug, commonly known as ice or crystal, a punishable offence as a person involved in the heinous crime could get death penalty.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of the government bill, the culprits are given no punishment in trial courts as neurotoxic synthetic drugs including ice, crystal and meth were not defined in the laws.
“Punishment for drug-related crimes in the law are also assigned as per quantity whereas severity of addiction and harm is not considered and drugs like heroin and cannabis are treated in same category,” it added.
It also said that rigorousness of punishment may vary with respect of quantity, that’s why it was very difficult for police to prove the heinousness of the crime and get desired conviction.
“No person shall extract, prepare, process, manufacture, sell, purchase, deliver on any terms whatsoever, transport or dispatch the drug”, the bill said, adding that the people found involved in violating the law could be given death penalty, or imprisonment of three years to life term, depending upon the quantity of drugs.
As per the bill, a person could be given capital punishment, or life imprisonment, if the drug’s quantity exceeded to 10 kilograms. The fine up to Rs1 million may also be imposed on the law violators.
PTI, GDA boycott proceedings; TLP questions why Bhutto’s shrine is open when all other mazars are closed
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla, who moved the bill after the standing committee on law presented its report, said that the legislation was the need of the hour.
He said that there was no law for punishing the people involved in manufacturing and sale of recreational drugs.
“It [the bill] is for the betterment of our new generation,” he added.
PA passes succession certificate law
The house also unanimously passed the Letter of Administration and Succession Certificate (LASC) Bill, 2021 that would enable people to obtain the document directly from the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), bringing an end to the lengthy process of obtaining it from courts.
Currently, LASCs are being issued under the Succession Act 1925 by the courts having jurisdiction.
The parliamentary affairs minister, who presented the bill in a very thinly attended house, said that obtaining the LASCs from the courts had been a lengthy process and the new law was enacted to make it easy and speedy to curtail fraud and forgery.
He said that it was also a time-consuming procedure, adding that the provincial government decided to enact the law keeping in view miseries of the citizens.
“Under the law the heirs of a deceased person could be able to apply directly in Nadra for obtaining a succession certificate,” he added.
The minister said that the people could approach the court if Nadra failed to issue them certificates on time.
MPAs’ lack of interest in legislation
Only 18 lawmakers were present during the legislative proceedings.
While the Pakistan Peoples Party-led provincial government claims to have carried out the legislation in larger interest of the people of Sindh, only 13 party legislators were present in the house and hardly five other PPP MPAs took part in the voting through a video link for passage of the bills.
The PPP’s strength in the house is 96 as three of its MPAs had died.
The opposition parties also showed a lack of interest in the lawmaking as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Grand Democratic Alliance boycotted the proceedings against adoption of an adjournment motion of PPP member Nida Khuhro on the federal government’s ‘intention’ to alter the 18th Amendment.
Members belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal distanced themselves from legislation and seemed less bothered in the proceedings.
Earlier, GDA and PTI lawmakers boycotted the proceedings as they were not allowed to speak on Ms Khuhro’s adjournment motion that was admitted for discussion.
TLP slams shrines’ closure
In his calling-attention notice, Mufti Mohammad Qasim Fakhri of the TLP criticised the provincial government for closing the shrines under the garb of Covid-19.
“Why is Bhutto’s (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) mausoleum open while shrines are closed across the province?” he asked.
Mufti Qasim thought that the coronavirus would not spread through shrines but public gatherings of the Pakistan Democratic Movement.
Parliamentary Secretary for Auqaf Heer Soho said that it was very unfortunate that the government had to close the shrines, adding that the decision was taken by the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC).
“The shrines are closed for public till January 31 and hopefully, they would be opened after that,” she added.
Later, the proceedings were adjourned till Monday.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2021