The Sindh government has decided to place a ban on fishing in River Indus between Guddu and Sukkur barrages. The decision was taken in view of threats to the life of blind dolphin and recent reports about its frequent deaths.
During question and answer session at the Sindh Assembly here on Thursday, Sindh Wildlife Minister, Daya Ram said that his department in consultation with the fisheries department has sent a summary to chief minister in this regard.
The minister said that the population of dolphins, locally called Bhulan, between Guddu and Sukkur has been estimated at 918. There are reports of frequent deaths in this part of River Indus due to excessive hunting by the fishermen who use poison to catch the fish.
“Around 24 dolphins were found dead in this area last year and seven deaths were reported from January 24 to 30 this year,” he said.
He further said earlier there was a contract system in the fisheries and every fisherman was not allowed fishing. But since the contract system has been abolished, local fishermen, under permission from fisheries department, continue fishing 24 hours, which is threatening for dolphins, an endangered species.
Referring to a survey conducted by his department in 2011, the minister said there were around 950 dolphins in River Indus from Guddu to Kotri. Out of them 918 are between Guddu and Sukkur barrages.
The hunting of the protected Houbara Bustard is allowed only to foreign dignitaries. “It’s a provincial subject,” but even after the passage of 18th Amendment “it is the federal government which issues the permit,” wildlife minister said adding that “the hunting areas have been assigned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”
On a supplementary question, Arif Mustafa Jatoi of National Peoples Party terming the policy discriminatory wanted to know why locals were not being given permission for the hunting of the bustard.
The minister said that this had been going on since long and they (provincial government) could not change it. “Mostly the dignitaries from Gulf states come here for the hunting of Houbara Bustard in Khairpur, Jamshoro and Ghotki districts etc,” he said.
Haji Munwar Ali Abbasi of Pakistan Peoples Party once again raised the issue of Benazir Bhutto’s vehicle which, according to him, was available for sale at a showroom in Rawalpindi. “A report has appeared in some section of media that Benazir Bhutto’s vehicle, which she used during the tenure of premiership, has been put for auction at a showroom,” he said.
Abbasi inquired from Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri, who had assured him the other day to look into the matter. But Ms. Marri on Thursday said that they were still investigating it whether the vehicle belonged to Benazir Bhutto or not.
Sindh Assembly also adopted a unanimous resolution to pay tribute to women of Pakistan on 101 anniversary of the International Women Day. Around 13 identical resolutions were moved by women parliamentarians belonging to PPP, MQM and PML-F.
During their speeches they appreciated the efforts of women specially Fatima Jinnah, Begum Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, Benazir Bhutto, Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, Mala Yousafzai and others.
Several women MPAs in their speeches lauded the contribution of women in different fields and stressed the need to empower the women living in rural areas.
Earlier as the session stared with Dr. Sikandar Mandhro in the chair, the house passed a bill into law to establish Indus University in Karachi. The bill was moved by Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro who said that the bill was meant to grant university status to the Indus Institute of Higher Education.
On the occasion Syed Sardar Ahmed of MQM asked government to establish a commission to monitor the activities of universities being charteded by the assembly. He suggested the appointment of members from public and private universities to look into the matter whether the universities are working properly or not.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 9th, 2012.