GBLA session: Legislators bemoan water, power crises

ZAB case reopening lauded, Nisar’s comments chided.

Shabbir Mir April 12, 2011


Members of the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) on Monday assailed the government for failing to provide electricity and water to the people of the region, especially Gilgit, the provincial capital city.

Not a drop to drink, even for the speaker

“This is sheer failure on part of the government that people are deprived of water and power while VIPs are enjoying all facilities and devouring our national resources,” said Didar Ali, an independent lawmaker from Gilgit. He said that power is available for only two hours a day in the city and people are forced to take to the streets against this injustice, but the government has turned a deaf ear to their plight.

He was supported by a number of legislators, including Speaker Wazir Baig, who claimed that he didn’t have water in his house for the past four days. “It’s the responsibility of the civic agencies and department concerned to ensure provision of basic facilities to the citizens,” he said, adding that shortage of drinking water and electricity had become chronic in the town.

Mirza Hussain, a PML-Q lawmaker, said that the government has miserably failed to solve people’s problems, noting that availability of electricity for just two hours a day meant 22 hours loadshedding. He said that the economic and other sectors have suffered a lot due to the extensive loadshedding. “It’s the public that suffers. The bureaucrats and VIPs enjoy uninterrupted supply of water and power,” he lamented.

Abdul Hameed, a PPP parliamentary secretary, criticised his own government for failing to meet the public needs, saying that the situation has gone from bad to worse and noting that only high officials are exempted from these troubles. A number of other members also spoke on the occasion, asking the government to take measures to ensure the supply of water and power to the people.

Reopening ZAB case

Earlier, lawmakers passed a resolution extending unanimous support to the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari for reopening Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) case.

Sadia Danish, an adviser to chief minister, tabled the resolution supporting Zardari’s reopening of the ZAB case. “The factors behind the judicial murder of ZAB must be made public,” said the adviser in her resolution. The house, chaired by Speaker Wazir Baig, unanimously passed the resolution.

Nisar’s “Foul Language”

Through another resolution, the house condemned senior PML-N member and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for uttering derogatory remarks against Zardari. Parliamentary Secretary Wazir Hassan tabled a resolution seeking condemnation of the “foul language” used by Chaudhry Nisar against the President. Legislators from the PML-N, PML-Q and MQM opposed the resolution, however, the support of the PPP, JUI-F and independent members ensured that it sailed through smoothly.

Law Minister Wazir Shakil presented the Civil Servant Act before the house for approval, but the Speaker referred the draft to a select committee for consideration, asking it to submit before the house in the next session.

‘Explosive’ assembly

Raziuddin, a firebrand independent lawmaker who had threatened to blow up the G-B Assembly in the last session tendered an unconditional apology to the house for his poor choice of words that drew widespread condemnation in the region. He was sacked from his position as Public Accounts Committee chairman almost immediately after the ‘bomb threat’.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2011.



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