KARACHI: Lawmakers belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and major opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday took over four hours in breaks and delays on difference over inclusion of Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MPAs as members of a select committee formed later to deliberate on the Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill, 2022 “to make the new local bodies set-up in line with Article 140-A of the Constitution in the light of the Supreme Court’s direction”.

After deliberations a 19-member committee was formed that include 10 members from the ruling PPP and nine from five opposition parties in the house.

Opposition members of the committee are Haleem Adil Sheikh, Firdaus Shamim Naqvi and Khurram Sher Zaman of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Muhammad Hussain Khan and Javed Hanif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Grand Democratic Alliance’s Husnain Mirza, TLP’s Mufti Qasim Fakhri and Syed Abdul Rasheed of MMA.

Treasury members included Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Mukesh Kumar Chawla, Ghulam Qadir Chandio, Pir Mujibul Huq, Imdad Pitafi, Nida Khuhro, Sharmila Farooqui, Dr Sohrab Sarki and Ghanwer Khan Isran.

Nine opposition and 10 treasury members to submit report in 45 days; next session to be held on March 16

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Chawla informed the house that the select committee would submit its report in 45 days after deliberation on the SLGA 2021.

At the outset, LG Minister Nasir Shah said that the treasury had decided six names for the select committee from the government sides and sought five names from the opposition.

MMA’s lone MPA Rasheed rose to ask the chair as to why opposition leader did not include the members of MMA and TLP in the proposed select committee. He said that it was the responsibility of the provincial government to include names of small opposition parties in the committee.

Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh and Khawaja Izhar of the MQM-P strongly opposed the inclusion of MMA and TLP members in the committee. The MQM-P MPA said that the members of the two opposition parties never supported Mr Sheikh as the leader of the opposition.

“You staged a food gala for 29 days in front of the assembly and sold away Karachi by entering an agreement with the ruling party,” he told the MMA member.

Mr Sheikh suggested to the treasury to incorporate Rasheed from the government side and said that he never supported the joint opposition.

He also criticised Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, saying that he [speaker] actually did not want constitution of the select committee. “Speaker Sahib, you do not want to form the committee and just staging a show,” he sarcastically said.

The speaker did not like Sheikh’s remarks and hit back to say that he [speaker] did not come to stage a show but to watch the show by opposition members. “You sat me with three hours in the committee room before the session started, but you did not decide anything. I had requested you to give me the names of your members but to no avail,” he added.

Mr Durrani advised both the treasury and opposition members to sit together and sort out the issue.

He called Question Hour after Minister Chawla said that the government was ready to sit with opposition to finalise the names in 10 minutes.

After Question Hour that hardly lasted for 20 minutes, the chair adjourned the house for prayers at around 5pm. The proceedings, however, were resumed after over two hours.

The female lawmakers of the ruling parties were seen making their photographs and the opposition members chatting as the leader of opposition along with other opposition members held consultations on the names of the proposed select committee.

After the consensus on the names of the committee, Minister Nasir Shah introduced the Sindh Local Government Bill 2022 and the Sindh Law (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and the same were sent to select committee with directives to report back within 45 days.

Later, the session was adjourned to March 16.

Published in Dawn, February 24th, 2022

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