KARACHI: A kidnapping of a minor Hindu girl from Mithi and the fears of her forcible conversion were brought up in the Sindh Assembly session on Friday.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Mahesh Malani told the House that a Muslim father of two, Hayat Hingorjo, has kidnapped a 16-year-old girl while the police are on a wild goose chase. "This assembly has passed a bill banning minor marriages and I request my government to take action," he said.
Malani pointed out that the girl hails from the scheduled caste Bheel community, whose members have staged a sit-in and blocked Hyderabad-Tharparakar road for the last two days. He feared that she may be presented at any seminary or mosque and will be forcibly converted to Islam.
Senior minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro admitted he had no idea about the case. "We are up in arms against kidnappings and forced conversions," he said, adding that he will contact the district administration and give the House an update on Monday.
Friday's session, which was chaired by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, also included a discussion on the water shortage.
"The managing director of the water board is behaving like the king of a state," claimed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Khurram Sher Zaman, when he moved a privilege motion against Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) managing director Misbahuddin Farid. "He [Farid] neither provides water to citizens nor attends our phone calls. There has been severe shortage of clean water in my constituency for the last three years."
Zaman said he approached Farid through the Sindh governor as well but that had little impact. "The parchi [bribe] mafia is quite strong within the KWSB and all issues are redressed after the payment of a certain commission," he claimed.
However, the privilege motion was declared 'out of order' by Khuhro, who said the issue has already been raised in this session. He asked local government minister Jam Khan Shoro to brief the lawmakers. "Not only particular areas but the entire city is suffering from water shortage," said Shoro. The total demand is 1,050 million gallons per day (MGD) but only 550MGD is received, he said, adding that Hub Dam had dried.
Shortage of furniture at Government School Wada Mahesar, which falls within Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah's constituency in Khairpur Mirs, was raised by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) MPA Imtiaz Shaikh.
"There are no basic facilities, such as furniture in this school," he said, quoting a local newspaper. "We are treating our children as second-class citizens. The same situation prevails in my constituency in Shikarpur but officials have turned a blind eye to it." Shaikh went on to calling the education minister 'powerless' in the face of the education secretary. Even the chief minister cannot transfer this influential secretary, he claimed but Shah was busy signing papers for other MPAs to respond.
Khuhro refused to take up the adjournment motion based merely on a newspaper clipping. "There is furniture available in the school where around 988 children are enrolled. There are 106 chairs, 56 dual desks and 60 benches in the school," he pointed out.
Lawmakers belonging to the rival PPP and the PML-F joined hands against the federal government and criticised its failure to prevent load-shedding in Sindh. Speaking during point-of-order, Sindh transport minister Mumtaz Jakhrani accused a Water and Power Development Authority officer of taking away pole-mounted transformers from his constituency. He said these people are being punished for voting against Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2016.