The 30th session of the Punjab Assembly (PA) starts today at 3pm and will likely run for three weeks as the members debate law and order, new provinces and other issues.
Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, talking to reporters on Thursday, indicated that the Karachi situation would be discussed. He said that he believed that the allegations made by former Sindh home minister Zulfiqar Mirza against the Muttahida Qaumi Movement concerning the violence in Karachi, and vice versa, were true.
He accused the Pakistan Peoples Party of hypocrisy, saying they were demanding the carving up of the Punjab on the basis of ethnicity and language, but any mention of the division of Sindh was condemned as offensive. He said the Muslim League-Nawaz was not opposed to new provinces, but it wanted any such process to be carried out according to constitutional provisions. He said if the federal government were serious, it would set up a committee to consider the subject like it had with the 18th Amendment.
Sanaullah sought to refute a claim made by PML-Quaid’s Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly Chaudhry Zaheeruddin Khan that 33,000 kidnapping for ransom cases had been registered from 2009 to 2011. He presented official documents stating that there had been 1,300 such cases registered from 2006 to 2010.
He said that police investigations of these cases showed that the reason behind most kidnappings was poverty and unemployment, and these were a direct result of the gas and electricity shortages crippling industry, which in turn were the responsibility of the federal government.
Sanaullah said he was satisfied with the joint investigation team trying to find the son of slain former governor Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, who was recently kidnapped. PA Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal met with senior officials of the police, Rescue 1122 and Home Department on Thursday to discuss security arrangements for the building during the session. He directed security officials to make sure that no guests are allowed on the premises.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 9th, 2011.