Despite being given almost Rs60 million each for development schemes, Sindh’s legislators have little to say about their efforts.
A majority of lawmakers from all political parties have played a negligible role in the Sindh Assembly over the past four years.
The dire state of affairs is evident from a four-year performance report of the Sindh Assembly, which was presented by Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on Saturday. While legislators are supposed to enact laws, raise issues of public importance and move adjournment motions to initiate debate on issues to get the government to act, a majority spent the last four years without doing their actual job.
“The lawmakers are representatives of the people. They are supposed to highlight issues being faced by their voters, otherwise their representation is hollow and they should resign from their positions,” said former National Assembly speaker Illahi Buksh Soomro.
While four MPAs were ranked as the most active, several legislators haven’t been heard from in the past four years. These include Abdul Raheem Khoso, Aziz Ahmed Jatoi, Fida Hussain Dero, Ghulam Sarwar Siyal, Hassan Khoso, Ikramullah Dharejo and Bashir Ahmed Leghari of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Rana Abdul Sattar, Rahim Bux Khan Bozdar, Shamsuddin Rajar and Ali Ghulam Nizamani of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, Sohail Yousuf Khan, Rasheed Khan and Zubair Ahmed of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Shah Hussain Sheerazi, Chettan Mal Arwani and Arbab Zulfiqar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (Likeminded). On the other hand, female MPAs have played a fairly active role when compared to their male colleagues.
Soomro believes that elected representatives have no vision, and mainly focus on funds and budgets. But the problem, he said, is that they are “not sincere to voters and instead consider themselves accountable to their party’s head.”
On the other hand, Speaker Khuhro said the performance of the last four years is a historical achievement. Khuhro said 36 ordinances were issued – 28 went to the assembly and eight lapsed. The government received around 108 bills and 76 have been passed since 2008. While 31 bills were moved by legislators from political parties, only one was introduced because the government needs to assess its financial viability.
Efforts by MPAs to initiate a debate on issues through adjournment motions also went by the wayside. Of the 41 motions moved, 31 lapsed, four were withdrawn and six were declared out of order.
While the assembly received around 1,033 resolutions on days designated for members, only 40 of these were passed. The National Peoples Party’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi, who topped the list of active legislators, said, “Most of the time the speaker adjourns the session without completing the agenda due to which private resolutions have not been taken up.”
The government has passed 137 out of turn resolution in the last four years. According to Jatoi, “The government (being in a majority) feels it can pass out of turn resolutions, which normally is not listed in the business of the day.”
The performance report stated that 28 privilege motions were tabled. Six of these were referred to a committee on rules of procedure and privileges and a special committee.
Almost half a million rupees is spent on Sindh Assembly proceedings daily and legislators are given Rs2,500 to Rs3,000 each for attending the session. MPAs earn about Rs40,000 every month including allowances.
Published In The Express Tribune, April 29th, 2012.
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