KARACHI: The MPAs belonging to the ruling coalitions were not playing to the galleries but they probably believed in themselves when they told the House on Friday that there was no law and order problem in the province except for Karachi.
While majority of the public representatives avoided taking part in the debate on law and order, initiated following an adjournment motion, those who spoke patted themselves saying that “everything is fine in Sindh. The law and order situation is under control in the province except in Karachi.” Some of them rather availed the opportunity to appreciate the government, police and other law enforcement agencies for bringing peace in the province.
However, there were a few who did not agree with this exercise of self-appeasement and drew the attention of the House on the issues of human right abuses, women empowerment, forced marriages and related killings, kidnappings for ransom, tribal clashes and other criminal activities throughout the province.
As soon as the session started on Friday with Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza in chair, the law minister Ayaz Soomro requested the Speaker to defer the question answer session allowing more time for debate on law and order of the province. “We have handed over to you a list of the members who want to speak on the issue,” Soomro said.
But MQM’s Shoaib Bukhari, who is minister for Bureau of Supply and Price Control, said: “Our members can’t speak on the issue as chief minister, law secretary and other officials are not there.” But Soomro instantly reminded that “the officials of law department are present in the gallery. They can take notes and will communicate to the chief minister.”
This prompted Shehla Raza to declare that “if you people are not willing to speak on the issue, I will adjourn the session.” She, however, later asked the PPP members to initiate the debate. Humera Alwani instead of focusing on law and order spoke on the custom of Sang Chatti in which women are traded as penalty for settlement of disputes. She also spoke about domestic violence, Jirgas and discrimination against women in the reporting of gang rape cases. She thought that all these factors were contributing to the deteriorating law and order in the province.
Another woman MPA, Shamin Ara Panhwar, however, lauded the efforts of the government and claimed that crime rate has fallen in Sindh. “After PPP government came to power, normality has come to prevail all over Sindh,” she said.“There is some disturbance in Karachi as some elements are out to disturb peace in the city.”
Bachal Shah of PPP did not sound different. He said: “There were times when there were kidnappings for ransom every day in Sindh. But credit should be given to PPP who has controlled the situation. No kidnapping for ransom case has been reported from Hyderabad and Sukkur during the last one year.” Referring to the situation in Karachi he said that “it cannot be controlled until or unless a massive de-weaponisation campaign is initiated.” He reminded that the assembly had earlier adopted a resolution on the issue, but it has not been implemented. He asked all the political parties including ANP, MQM and PPP, to expel the criminal elements from their rank and file.
The debate on the law and order issue will resume on Monday.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.