Noisy protest in Sindh Assembly as opposition not allowed to question govt’s Covid-19 measures

Published June 2, 2021
The house continues to witnesses hooliganism and ruckus on the private members’ days with little or no business on the agenda being taken up, depriving the opposition members of the opportunity to move their bills, resolutions, amendments and other motions introduced or initiated by them. — PPI/File
The house continues to witnesses hooliganism and ruckus on the private members’ days with little or no business on the agenda being taken up, depriving the opposition members of the opportunity to move their bills, resolutions, amendments and other motions introduced or initiated by them. — PPI/File

KARACHI: Yet another private members’ day in the Sindh Assembly was marred by chaos and uproar during a strong protest lodged by the members of three major opposition parties on Tuesday.

This seems to have become a regular practice as the house witnesses hooliganism and ruckus on the private members’ days with little or no business on the agenda being taken up, depriving the opposition members of the opportunity to move their bills, resolutions, amendments and other motions introduced or initiated by them.

Three major opposition parties — Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Grand Democratic Alliance and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf — wanted to table a resolution to ask the provincial government what steps were taken by it to control the spread of Covid-19. However, they started protesting and chanting slogans after Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani refused to take up any out-of-turn agenda item.

The situation took an unpleasant turn when MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain rose soon after dua (prayer) to move a resolution on the issue but he was not allowed by the chair.

MQM, PTI and GDA lawmakers lodge a forceful protest after Speaker Durrani refuses to take up any out-of-turn agenda item

“This is a very important issue and we demand the Sindh government inform the house about the steps taken by it during the pandemic,” Mr Hussain said.

Being denied by the speaker to move the resolution, the PTI and GDA members also stood up to back the MQM-P lawmaker and finally they all gathered in front of the speaker’s dais.

The speaker tried to calm down the protesting opposition members but to no avail as they continued their protest despite repeated assurances by the chair that they would be given time but only after completion of business on agenda.

“I will give you time to speak on the issue but let the agenda of the day be completed,” he told the opposition members.

The speaker became irked when the opposition members did not go back to their respective seats and chanted slogans, asking the chair to first allow them to move their resolution.

Session adjourned till Friday

“This is not the way. I will not take dictation from anyone,” the speaker angrily said, telling the opposition members that if they did not want to run the house, he would adjourn the proceedings.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla also tried to persuade the protesting members to take their seats, but in vain as the protest continued till the speaker adjourned the house to June 4.

Minister Chawla said that the opposition on a private members’ day did not want their agenda to be taken up.

“Covid-19 is an important issue and a lawmaker belonging to Pakistan Peoples Party had submitted an adjournment motion on the matter,” he added.

He said that the treasury would have supported the opposition had they protested against cutting down Sindh’s share of water.

Majority of the MQM-P members came to the assembly in total disregard of the standard operating procedures notified by the speaker and some of the treasury members kept on asking them to at least wear masks.

The MQM-P MPAs later condemned the provincial government for “not giving any relief to people of Karachi”.

Talking to parliamentary reporters at the ‘media corner’ on the premises of the Sindh Assembly, they said that rulers in Sindh were treating Karachi like a “conquered territory”.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2021

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