KARACHI: The third session of the Sindh Assembly started off with reprimands to latecomers from the Speaker. Scheduled for 9:30 am, the session finally took off at 11:45 am as it has in the past two days as well.
However, this time around Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro expressed his uphappiness over the delay. The lack of punctuality compelled Khuhro to form a business advisory committee. The committee has among its tasks the responsibility of making sure that all members of the assembly join the session on time. Khuhro is the chairman of the committee while other members include leader of the Opposition, leader of the House and representatives of all political parties.
The committee will also meet before Thursday’s session and chalk out the schedule to be followed that day. The national assembly and other provincial assemblies have similar committees to ensure smooth and well-planned sessions, Khuhro explained, adding that there was no reason for Sindh to not follow suit. The Speaker’s dissatisfaction did not dissipate as he drew the session to an abrupt close at 2 pm with around half of the assembly’s agenda left over.
The topics that could not be introduced included the Lyari and Malir Development Authorities Bill, the Zulfikarabad Development Authority Bill and a reconsideration of the Shaheed Benazirabad Bill, 2009. Several committees were deprived of member nominations as well while other MPAs were unable to discuss their requests for project extensions.
Land mafia harasses Korean
A Korean entrepreneur, Ken, is being threatened by the land mafia, said MQM MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar in the session. This is a terrible thank you to a man who has come here to offer free training and consultancy to people, said Khokhar, asking the chief secretary to take note of the matter.
Leader of the Opposition Jam Madad lamented the sacking of lower-grade employees in the education department. The education minister, Pir Mazharul Haq, said that he was happy the issue was raised and said that these people had been appointed on political bases and their contracts should not have been renewed anyway. Moreover, contract employees cannot be regularised without proper legislation. “I leave it to the chief minister to review the case,” he added.
Haq also dismissed allegations of the teachers’ salary proposal being denied. He said that the summary asking for higher wages was still with the chief minister. He called the claims of teachers’ associations about their request being rejected as false, saying that such rumours are destroying the quality of education. Taking things a step further, Haq expressed his desire to ban ‘associations that act as unions and blackmail the government’.
MPA Bilquis Mukhtar expressed her reservations over the construction of a road at the historical site of Mohenjo-Daro, which she felt was destroying the ancient beauty of the place. Culture Minister Sassui Palijo informed the assembly that she had taken note of the construction already and had given orders for the work to stop. She said that she had found out that the National Highway Authority (NHA) was constructing a road along the ancient ruins and had met with officials of the NHA, Unesco and the archaeology department to come up with a solution.
The district administration has been instructed to make sure that the construction does not resume till a final decision has been made. When The Express Tribune approached Palijo to find out details on the road’s whereabouts, the minister said that she could not comment since she did not know the ‘details’. “I don’t have any material or facts at the moment and I am unable to comment on it,” she said. “Soon we will find out details and clarify the issue in a meeting and then I will inform the media.”
Published in the Express Tribune, May 27th, 2010.