Not allowed to voice their concerns, MQM MPAs boycott session

Published: March 11, 2017

KARACHI: Following the theme for this week, pandemonium ensued in the Sindh Assembly on Friday when Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmakers boycotted the session.

At the outset of the session, MQM MPAs Muhammad Hussain and Saifuddin Khalid insisted deputy speaker Shehla Raza give them time to speak about the killings of their workers in Orangi Town, opposition agenda being excluded from proceedings and other civic issues, but Raza warned them to follow the rules and let her to finish the agenda. “As per the rules, you can only move a call-attention notice on issues of human interest. You cannot deliver speeches on call-attention notices,” she said, addressing Khalid who had moved a call-attention notice about sewerage lines in his area being closed but actually spoke about police torturing and firing at peaceful protesters in Orangi some time ago.

The same thing happened with Hussain who spoke about the agenda of his party MPAs, which he claimed was not listed in the proceedings. The deputy speaker once again referred to the rules and said, “You can only point out the issue, the government will respond to it so please don’t waste assembly time in long speeches”.

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Khalid stood up and continued his speech on the arrest and killing of his party workers, prompting Raza to order his microphone to be turned off. This led to chaos in the house and the MQM members did not even heed their parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed’s requests for peace. “Despite this protest I will continue the session,” said Raza, asking MQM MPA Kamran Akhtar to read his call-attention notice on solid waste management.

Akthar asked the local government minister about the agreement accorded between the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board and a Chinese company to lift garbage from Karachi’s districts South and East. “The company was to start work from February but has not. It looks like everything in Pakistan will be done by China in the future,” he remarked. The minister replied that the machinery has been imported and garbage lifting work in District South has begun.

After the call-attention notices, the deputy speaker asked parliamentary minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro to move the Sindh Livestock Breeding bill but the MQM members refused to be a part of the legislation and boycotted the session.

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After the MQM’s boycott, Khuhro suggested the deputy speaker summon MQM lawmakers in her chamber and brief them about the rules of the assembly. “We cannot violate the rules,” he said.

During the session, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman raised the issue of harassment of Pashtuns residing in Karachi on the pretext of a crackdown on illegal Afghan immigrants by the police. Khuhro assured that no action will be taken against Pashtuns and that the drive was only against illegal immigrants.

The assembly also passed the Sindh Livestock Breeding Bill, which will regulate breeding services, its implementation on excellent pedigree performance recording system and the certified sale and quality services to elevate the reproductive and productive efficiency of livestock and therefore thus increase milk, meat and mutton production.

The deputy speaker finally adjourned the session till Monday.

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