Uproar in Sindh assembly: Opposition members not allowed to speak on Sehwan attack

They were told to wait until after the agenda was completed


Hafeez Tunio March 06, 2017
Some opposition members tore their copies of the agenda and protested in front of speaker's podium when he did not allow them to speak about the Sehwan incident. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS

KARACHI: The first sitting of the Sindh Assembly session was marred by a protest after the speaker refused to allow opposition members to speak about the Sehwan blast.

They expressed their displeasure after the chief minister briefed the house about the tragedy and speaker Agha Siraj Durrani did not give them the floor to share their thoughts on it.

"We also want to speak about this," requested opposition leader Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Khawaja Izharul Hasan and Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz parliamentary leader Nand Kumar, but Durrani told them to wait till after the agenda was finished.

This irked the opposition members, who asked the speaker to defer the agenda and give them a chance to shed light on this tragedy which claimed more than 90 lives. Despite heated arguments, Durrani refused. "Please don't dictate me. I will only give you the floor after agenda is finished," he said.

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Pakistan Peoples Party parliamentary minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro referred to the chief minister's speech and said, "The CM is the leader of the house; he can talk whenever he wants".

While he said this, the session echoed with chants against the government. Some opposition members tore their copies of the agenda and protested in front of speaker's podium. Due to this, Durrani adjourned the session for five minutes.

When the session resumed after the short hiatus, the opposition members too resumed their protest. The speaker ignored the opposition members and began the question and answer session and other items on the agenda.

He even finished the local government amendment in minutes, exempting the union council/committees and town committee chairmen from being disqualified.

"In view of the existing Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, the vote of no-confidence was applicable to chairman and vice-chairman of union committees and union councils who are directly elected. The removal of these elected representatives is illegal as these are not elected by representative houses of the committee/council," the objectives of the law said.

Amid protest by the opposition members the bill was passed as a law.

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 Judicial demand for Sehwan

After the legislation, the speaker gave the floor to the opposition parties. Hasan criticised the government's apathy and demanded a judicial inquiry into the Sehwan incident.

"I request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to take notice of the incident and order a judicial commission on the Sehwan blast," he said, adding that despite severe threats to the shrine, proper arrangements were not made and lack of health facilities in Sehwan exposed the government's tall claims.

MQM parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed, who had once served deputy commissioner of Dadu, briefed the house about Sehwan's history and said, "This is oldest town of Pakistan - it also existed around 2,000 years ago".

"After the Abdullah Shah Ghazi and Shah Noorani incidents, the government should have made proper security arrangements at Sehwan," he said.

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Dr Seema Zia of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf requested the government to start health and police reforms in the province.

Heer Soho of the MQM asked why the CM left the house without listening to the opposition's speeches.  "There were zero security arrangements at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar and same thing happens in other places," she said, demanding the government start a Rangers operation in other districts of the province as well.

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