To be or not to be: PPP devises strategy to deride Rangers in today’s session

The first Sindh Assembly session after four months was adjourned after breakfast

Our Correspondent December 10, 2015
The Sindh Assembly finally met on Thursday after a four-month-long hiatus only to be adjourned after breakfast. The lawmakers offered Fateha for late Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Jameel Bhurgari. PHOTO: INP


Amid growing speculations within government circles of an 11th-hour deal with regards to the Rangers' special powers, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) appears to have drawn a strategy to censure the role of the paramilitary force in today's session.

Before the first session after a four-month-long hiatus started on Thursday, the parliamentary parties held closed-door meetings in their chambers to devise a strategy for the session. Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who is also the provincial chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), had invited all his party's lawmakers to a sumptuous breakfast in his chamber.

During the meeting that was co-chaired by Nisar Khuhro and the CM, the party made a strategy to censure the role of the Rangers. "Soon after tabling a resolution in the assembly, a list of MPAs will be forwarded to the speaker. These members will speak on how the paramilitary force abuses power in the name of the Karachi operation," revealed one of the MPAs, requesting not be named. The lawmaker added that there are slim chances of the resolution being passed even on Friday, as most of the MPAs will speak on a resolution to pay tribute to late Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

When the chief minister came out of his chambers, he was surrounded by media personnel. There was only one question on everyone's lips: Will the Rangers get the extension? "Is there any news regarding the Rangers powers? Has your leadership given any green signal or will you bring a resolution today?" questioned the reporters. The chief minister's response was as diplomatic as it was vague. "InshaAllah behtar hoga, Rangers key masle pay koe tanaza nahe hey [Everything will be resolved amicably; there is no controversy over the Rangers' issue]."

Meanwhile, information adviser Maula Bux Chandio reiterated his party's as well as the Sindh government's policy on the matter. "We have always fought and struggled against anti-democratic elements under the preview of the Constitution and will continue our job with the same spirit."  We will give only those powers that the law permits us, he added. "Can we afford to hand over the education sector to the force if they demand so? This is not possible," he said.

Other parties

Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers, who were attending the first session after taking back their resignations, would not let you know whose side they were. "We are not against the Rangers or the operation being conducted in Karachi but we have serious reservations over the extrajudicial killings and arrests of our workers," said the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Khawaja Izharul Hasan.

On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz leader Liaquat Jatoi lauded the role of the army and the Rangers in controlling the law and order situation "The chief minister should also appreciate their efforts," he said, adding that they also support the army and the Rangers' action against corruption.

A day earlier, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPAs had moved a resolution, demanding an extension in the Rangers' special powers. Another similar resolution was submitted by Pakistan Muslim League - Functional members, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi, Shaharyar Mahar, Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and Nand Kumar, which reads: "The success of this operation relies on its continuity. Curtailing the powers of the Rangers at this stage will completely sabotage peace in the province. It is in the best interest of the people of Sindh that the Rangers continue this operation with full power."

Short meeting

Later, the session was adjourned without much ado. In doing so, the assembly maintained its tradition of remembering the death of a sitting MPA, Jameel Bhurgari. All the business on the agenda was deferred until the next session, today.

During the session that started around two hours behind schedule, two resolutions to pay tribute to PPP leader Makhdoom Amin Fahim and late MPA Jameel Bhurgari were moved.

Meanwhile, two MPAs — Noor Muhammad Bhurgari of the PPP, who has recently been elected from Mirpurkhas in the by-election and Jam Madad Ali of the PML-F, whose membership has been restored by the Supreme Court — took oath.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th,  2015.


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