KARACHI: Amid strong protest and boycott of the proceedings by members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan for being denied the floor by the chair for a fifth consecutive time, the Sindh Assembly on Monday unanimously passed The Sindh (Repeal of Police Act, 1861 and Revival of Police Order 2002) (Amendment) Bill, 2021 for what the government said was aimed at looking after the martyrs’ families properly.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla, who moved the bill, said that now the family member of a martyr could be provided a job in up to BPS-11.
Immediately after dua, the two opposition parties wanted to move a resolution to condemn the vandalism and anti-Pakistan slogans by the protesters at Bahria Town Karachi, but Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani refused to take up any matter ahead of the agenda items, triggering an outrage among the opposition members, who gathered in front of the dais chanting slogans ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ and ‘Sindh government na khappay’ before staging a walkout.
MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain Khan, who had risen right after dua on a point of order to move the resolution, said it was a matter of grave concern that thousands of “miscreants” resorted to violence and raised ‘Pakistan na khappay, Sindhudesh khappay’ slogans. “We want to condemn the incident through a resolution,” he said, adding that the matter should be discussed in the house in view of its importance before any other business.
Opposition not allowed to move resolution condemning BTK violence, anti-Pakistan slogans
However, the speaker did not entertain his request. “I will give you time, but let us finish the business first,” he told the opposition member.
As the chair called Question Hour, the MQM-P lawmaker started reading out his resolution though his microphone was turned off.
A visibly irked speaker expressed his displeasure and reminded Mr Hussain that he was not allowed to speak by the chair, but to no avail as the MQM-P member continued reading out the resolution loudly.
“This drama will not be permitted. This house will be run according to this book,” the speaker snapped while brandishing the assembly rules and procedures book.
Leader of the Opposition Haleem Adil Shaikh stood up to tell the chair that the opposition parties wanted to move a joint resolution to condemn the BTK incident and anti-Pakistan slogans.
Showing the assembly rules book to the opposition leader, Speaker Durrani asked him where it was written in the book that a member could start speaking on the floor without the chair’s permission.
The protesting members then gathered in front of the speaker’s dais chanting slogans before they boycotted the proceedings. Later, the PTI members came back but the MQM-P did not.
In the meantime, all agenda items were taken up hurriedly as most of the business was moved by lawmakers belonging to the PTI and the MQM-P, who opted to protest instead.
PTI, MQM-P members criticised
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Chawla criticised the PTI and the MQM-P for “spoiling the atmosphere of the house”.
He recalled that the two opposition parties’ members had also created scenes during the two previous sittings and disturbed the house.
The minister deplored that the opposition members created disturbances to hinder the business of the house though the chair had assured them that they would be given the floor to speak on the issue.
He said that Pakistan had always been a priority to the PPP. He said the PPP knew well how to deal with those who spoke against the country and about the division of Sindh. “Pakistan is our motherland and we will not tolerate anything against it,” he said.
He said that the “humiliating defeat” of the PTI and the MQM-P in the by-election of NA-249 in Karachi had exposed the popularity of the two opposition parties.
Lambasting the two opposition parties, Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah said that the PTI and the MQM-P just wanted to create scenes in the house as they always opted to protest than to speak on issues.
Referring to the violent incidents in Bahria Town, he made it clear that those who chanted slogans or spoke against the country would not be spared. “Stern action would be taken against those who were involved in it,” he added.
PPP MPA Shamim Mumtaz also came down heavily on the PTI and the MQM-P for staging a protest and boycott, saying that the two party members had been violating the sanctity of the house by their “hooliganism”.
She said that the opposition to a resolution on water scarcity in the province, moved during one of the earlier sessions, had exposed the “loyalty” of the two opposition parties in the eyes of the people of the province.
PPP’s Jam Shabbir Ali said that the opposition parties criticised the provincial government for the sake of criticism, but not for reform.
He said that it was now an open secret that how injustices were being committed against Sindh, but the opposition parties were keeping mum about the rights of the province.
Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2021