KARACHI: Federal Minister for Water Resources Javed Shah’s remarks in the Senate in the favour of constructing the Kalabagh dam triggered furore in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday where lawmakers once again passed a resolution against the controversial dam.
The resolution was adopted unanimously by the House as members of two major parties which have from time to time raised their voices in support of the dam, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), did not vote against the resolution.
“The assembly strongly reiterates its stance rejecting the construction of the Kalabagah dam. The mischievous move in the Senate by Federal Minister Javed Shah to whip the dead horse to life is highly condemnable. His remarks, calling opponents of Kalabagh dam Indian agents, exposes the ailing mentality of the federal minister and this assembly censures the highly objectionable attitude of Javed Shah,” read the resolution.
“Three provincial assemblies have already rejected this dam, so it will not be built come what may,” said Parliamentary Minister Nisar Khuhro, adding that rather than calling the opponents of the Kalabagh dam Indian agents, the federal minister should have called Nawaz Sharif an Indian agent for inviting Narendra Modi to Pakistan and not taking action against Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav. Quoting international laws, Khuhro maintained that no dam can be built without the consent of lower riparian areas, which, in Pakistan’s case, was Sindh. “Such remarks have breached the sanctity of the Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assemblies which have repeatedly rejected this dam,” the parliamentary minister said.
The assembly also passed a resolution to pay tribute to Allama Iqbal on his birthday. Poet, philosopher and visionary leader Iqbal gave the concept of an independent Muslim homeland in the Indian subcontinent, which eventually resulted in creation of Pakistan. The resolution was jointly moved by Khuhro, Nand Kumar Goklani of Pakistan Muslim League – Functional and Syed Sardar Ahmed of Muttahida Qaumi Movement. Lawmakers from both the treasury and opposition benches stressed the need to understand Iqbal’s concept of democracy.
The House also adopted a resolution expressing grief on the death of literary luminary and veteran Sindhi writer Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo who passed away at the age of 102 in Hyderabad on Thursday. “He was a son of the soil who spent whole of his life contributing in the fields of language, culture, philosophy and traditions of peace and tranquility in Sindh. The House pays rich tribute to his services and extends heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family,” read the joint resolution moved by opposition and treasury members.
Questions on education
Earlier, Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar informed the House that his department had stopped the salaries of ghost teachers and such teachers would also not be entitled to increments in salaries or promotions. “We have taken strict action against ghost teachers and this policy will continue,” he said.
Sharing the statistics, Dahar said there were 45,447 schools in Sindh, of which 593 fell under the domain of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). On a query about the schools where flood victims had been given temporarily shelter in various districts of Sindh in 2011, Dahar replied that such schools had been renovated and a few of them had been handed over to the Sindh Education Foundation.
Responding to a question about the government’s policy to hand over schools to non-governmental organisations (NGOs), the education minister said, “A board under the supervision of chief minister makes such decisions”. Dahar added that the provincial government pays to NGOs in proportion to the number of students enrolled in such schools. “We pay around Rs700 per student for primary school and Rs1,200 per student for secondary school,” the education minister said.
The assembly session has been adjourned till today.