KARACHI: Yet another private members’ day in the Sindh Assembly was marred on Wednesday due to chaos and uproar as lawmakers belonging to the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf protested over more than one hour delay in start of the proceedings.
As Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari entered the house to start proceedings, the opposition members gathered in front of the speaker’s rostrum asking the chair as to why the proceeding were delayed.
They, however, took their seats after she called for recitation of Quran, followed by dua.
The PTI members again started protesting when the chair allowed Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kuamr Chawla to give a policy statement ahead of Question Hour.
Haleem warns over threat to democracy in Sindh; probe into theft of 6.8m tonnes of wheat across country
The PTI members brought a megaphone in the house and chanted anti-government slogans. They alleged that their business was killed and not being brought up in the house.
Opposition leader reprimanded
The chair took exception to the opposition members’ protest terming it ‘deplorable. “Under Rule 261, a minister can give a policy statement at any time,” she said while trying to calm down the agitating lawmakers.
When Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh wanted to speak, Ms Leghari said that she would not allow if the attitude persisted.
“You tore up copies of agenda and threw at me, I will not permit you to speak. You will be allowed to speak thousands of time but only when you change your attitude,” she said while making it clear that she would not take dictation from anyone.
In his policy statement, Minister Chawala, who also holds the portfolio of food ministry, denied any wheat theft in the province and said that a federal minister had made “baseless” accusations.
“After the federal cabinet meeting, a federal minister accused that 1.6 million tonnes wheat was stolen from Sindh but in fact, our total procurement is 1.2 million tonnes,” he added.
He said that 6.8 million tonnes wheat was stolen from the country, demanding that it should be probed. He said that a ‘mafia’ was sitting in the federal government, which was behind the hike in prices of sugar, petrol and flour.
Later, the chair allowed Opposition Leader Sheikh to speak. He said that they had to bring the megaphone as their microphones were not being turned on. “Whenever the government wanted, we ensured smooth running of the house,” he added.
Mr Haleem said that important business of the opposition was being ‘killed’, saying that that their call attention notices were not being included in the agenda.
‘Democracy in danger’
He said that in the earlier sitting of the current session, the chair, held by Sharjeel Inam Memon as chairman, had assured that a resolution on Nazim Jokhio murder would be taken up but to no avail.
The opposition leader said that neither chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee was given to the opposition nor it had representation in standing committees.
“Democracy is in danger in Sindh,” Mr Sheikh said.
Muttahida Quami Movement-P’s Muhammad Hussain Khan on a point of order suggested that a meeting of business advisory committee could be held to sort out issues pertaining to the agenda. He said that during the last session, business advisory committee held its meeting and no unpleasant incident was happened and the proceedings continued smoothly.
Speaking on a point of order, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal’s Syed Abdul Rasheed said that two people of Layri got injured when identified men opened fire on them during their protest against power breakdown. He demanded that the provincial government arrest the culprits or else he would stage a protest outside the assembly.
The house was adjourned to Thursday.
Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2021