Despite court’s order, Sindh Assembly still without an opposition leader

Published: March 6, 2013

File photo of the Sindh Assembly. PHOTO: ONLINE/FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has issued notice to the Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro and Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza for allegedly not notifying the opposition leader in the house despite the court’s order to decide the matter within ten days.

Chief Justice Mushir Alam, while heading the bench, directed them to file their comments by the next date.

The notice has been issued on a plea moved by ten members of the assembly belonging to the opposition parties, who sought contempt proceedings against the Sindh Assembly’s speaker and deputy speaker on the controversy involving notification of the opposition leader.

The petitioners – Jam Madad Ali, Nusrat Sahar Abbasi, Mohammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar, Mohammad Rafique Banbhan, Rahim Bux Bozdar, Rana Abdul Sattar, Qazi Shams Din Rajar, Ali Ghulam Nizamani, Syeda Marvi Rashdi and Mir Abid Hussain Jatoi – had filed the petition against Khuhro’s inaction to appoint the opposition leader.

The lawmakers, who belong to the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional, PML-Likeminded and National People’s Party, said that they had unanimously nominated MPA Nusrat Sahar Abbasi to be appointed as opposition leader.

In their petition, they submitted that the speaker was formally informed about the decision by filing an application to the speaker’s office on December 19, 2012.

After the receiving the application, the speaker was legally bound to allocate seats to the opposition members so as to complete the house and run its business smoothly and in accordance with the constitutional mandate. No decision, however, has been made on the plea, they added.

They said that the deputy speaker ought to have allocated seats after the formation of the opposition group, but nothing has been done as yet.

Slowing down the system

Abdul Mujeeb Pirzada and Khalid Shah, lawyers representing the lawmakers, said that the assemblies were completing their term by March 23, 2013.

Under article 224 and 224A of the Constitution, the caretaker chief minister has to be appointed by the governor in consultation with the chief minister and the leader of the opposition in the outgoing provincial assembly.

Therefore, it is the prime requirement of the time that seats be allocated to the opposition members without any further delay as the term of provincial assembly is due to end “very shortly”, they stated.

While disposing the petition on February 8, the bench had directed the speaker to decide the petitioner MPAs plea within ten days from the date of the court’s order.

On Tuesday, the lawmakers moved an urgent application, pointing out that the assembly speaker has still not decided the application and no opposition leader has been notified so far.

They argued that this act of the speaker was equal to willfully defying the court’s order and pleaded to initiate contempt proceedings against them.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2013.

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