KARACHI: While minister Pir Mazharul Haq’s wounded pride dominated the proceedings of the Sindh Assembly on Monday and inspired many a fiery speech, a scheduled discussion on the state of law and order in the province lacked any sense of urgency.
The discussion was originally scheduled to be with the chief minister in attendance, since he is currently in charge of the home ministry as well. However, Speaker Nisar Khuhro asked for the discussion to start and said the chief minister could be briefed on the points later.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPAs Jam Tamachi Unar, Anwar Ahmed Khan Mahar and Sassui Palijo spoke briefly, followed by impassioned speeches from Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPAs Manzar Imam and Tahir Qureshi. Unar pointed out the extent of politically influenced appointments in the police and the education services, and called for an end to political interferences in these departments. Palijo said there were “loopholes in the criminal justice system” and “it is as if we have become desensitised to violence”.
Palijo, who had been one of the backers for a discussion solely on Karachi, also said that there was a level of political backing for criminals as well, and there was a need for parties to correct this. “This is not just an issue of Malir and Lyari,” she said. “There are criminals there and it is our government that has initiated action against them but the answer for a bullet cannot be a bullet. We have to look at the demands of the people.”
Since the MQM had insisted on broadening the discussion to include law and order in the entire province, MPA Manzar Imam brought up the cases of honour killings and kidnappings in Sindh. There were also several jabs made at legislators “for whom it is very easy to raise adjournment motions and ask for discussions when they haven’t visited these areas.”
“There is no need to make impassioned speeches and rile people up,” he said. He also quoted party chief Altaf Hussain as saying that there was no such thing as ‘new’ and ‘old’ Sindhis and asked why certain ethnic groups were still being targeted. “What is the fault of our forefathers?” Qureshi, on the other hand, waxed lyrical about the days when Lyari was a peaceful place. There were 20 legislators listed to speak on law and order in Sindh, and the discussion is likely to continue on Thursday, when the next sitting of the Sindh Assembly is scheduled for.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 1st, 2012.