Sindh govt under fire in NA over Karachi lockdown

Published August 4, 2021
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MNA Usama Qadri (L) and PPP MNA Syed Naveed Qamar speak in Tuesday's National Assembly session. — DawnNewsTV
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MNA Usama Qadri (L) and PPP MNA Syed Naveed Qamar speak in Tuesday's National Assembly session. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The treasury members from Karachi on Tuesday blasted the PPP-led Sindh government in the National Assembly for its decision to impose a strict lockdown in the provincial capital in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, alleged political victimisation of the opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly and “worsening law and order situation” in the city as one of the MNAs even called for imposition of governor rule in the province.

The MNAs belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) vowed to support the Karachi traders protesting against the Sindh government’s decision to impose the nine-day lockdown and warned that there could be an “anarchy-like situation” in the city if the decision was not reversed.

The treasury members, while speaking on points of order on a private member’s day, also criticised the Sindh government over poor and insufficient arrangements for vaccination of the people in Karachi.

Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Syed Naveed Qamar, however, defended the Sindh government’s actions and urged the treasury members not to do politics on the issue as it was directly linked to the health of the people.

Meanwhile, it was the third consecutive sitting of the assembly hit by lack of quorum. Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri adjourned the session till Friday morning without taking up over 100 agenda items when the opposition members once again staged a silent walkout and independent MNA Mohsin Dawar pointed out lack of quorum.

Mr Dawar pointed out the quorum in protest when the deputy speaker did not give him the floor to respond to the speech of Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan who had criticised him for allegedly maligning the country and state institutions while highlighting the issue of last month’s “kidnapping” of the daughter of the Afghan ambassador in Islamabad.

Speaking on a point of order, MQM MNA from Karachi Usama Qadri alleged that the Sindh government was discriminating while imposing the lockdown in various parts of the province. He said the provincial government had imposed “curfew” in Karachi which was a violation of the decisions of the federal government and the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).

Mr Qadri was of the view that the provincial governments were bound to implement decisions of the federal government in respect of the Covid-19 pandemic. He said daily wagers and small traders had been hit hard by the Sindh government’s decision to impose “curfew”.

He feared that more people could die because of hunger rather than coronavirus. He also lashed out at the provincial government for “poor arrangements” for vaccination in Karachi, regretting that only five vaccination centres had been set up in a city with a population of nearly 30 million people. He called for establishing vaccination centres at the union council level.

The MQM lawmaker said Karachi’s traders were not ready to accept the lockdown decision and they were ready to revolt against the provincial authorities. He declared that his party would support the traders in their ongoing protest in Karachi against the lockdown.

Mr Qadri drew the ire of Naveed Qamar for calling the provincial government as the “government of interior Sindh”. The PPP MNA asked the MQM legislator not to do politics on the coronavirus issue. Mr Qadri also demanded that the people of Karachi be exempted from paying electricity, gas and water bills.

Responding to Mr Qadri’s speech, the PPP MNA from Hyderabad said oxygenated beds were fully occupied in Karachi due to the sudden rise in the number of Covid-19 cases and the hospitals had started refusing to admit the patients. He admitted that the traders were facing difficulties, but said it was for a “limited time period”.

PTI’s MNA from Karachi Attaullah raised the issue of “worsening” law and order situation in the city where, he claimed, the incidents of target killings were increasing. He lashed out at the Sindh government over alleged political victimisation of Leader of the Opposition Haleem Adil Sheikh and warned that if the PPP did not stop its vendetta against the opposition in the province, its own members would not be safe.

Accusing the Sindh rulers of indulging in corruption, protecting the drug mafia and those involved in target killings, he asked Prime Minister Imran Khan and the federal government to impose governor rule in the province, stating that “there is no other option left”.

Earlier, PML-N parliamentary leader Khawaja Asif raised the issue of recruitments in Pakistan Agricul­tural Research Council (PARC) after sacking of hundreds of its employees. He said a parliamentary committee had also sought a report on the issue.

Deputy Speaker Suri through a ruling stopped the authorities concerned from sacking the PARC employees and issuing any advertisements for recruitments till the submission of the report to the committee.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2021



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