KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly's proceedings on Monday were dominated by the issue of wheat procurement, including the distribution of gunny bags.
As the session started with speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in chair, Pakistan Muslim League - Nawaz MPA Sorath Thebo moved a call attention notice alleging that that the procurement season of wheat had started in the province but gunny bags were not being supplied to farmers so that they could sell their wheat stock at the approved rates.
"Wheat procurement centres have not been established yet in many areas of Sindh and the officials concerned are unwilling to meet the farmers. Their phones are switched off. No farmer can get gunny bags without a 'parchi' or political influence," the MPA lamented, adding, that genuine farmers are protesting but no one is listening to them.
Responding to her, Parliamentary and Food Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said the government had fixed 1.4 million metric tons of wheat for procurement, adding that a total of 5.5 million metric tons had been produced in the province and it was not possible for the government to purchase all the wheat at support prices - Rs1,300 per 40 kilogrammes. He maintained that the government had borrowed Rs1 billion from banks to procure wheat and give subsidies to the farmers.
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Regarding the absence of food inspectors in various districts, Khuhro said, "There has been a ban on appointments so we have a shortage of food inspectors".
The issue of the murder of singer Samina Sindhu in Larkana was also raised during the session. Muttahida Qaumi Movement - Pakistan MPA Naheed Begum, who recently joined the Pak Sarzameen Party, said the incident showed incompetence of the local police in maintaining law and order.
"She belonged to a poor family. I want to know what progress has been made in the case and if the government has offered any compensation to the victim's family," she said, alleging that Sindhu's family was being threatened by her killers.
Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal informed the House that the main culprit had been arrested within two hours of the incident. An exemplary punishment will be given to the killers, he said, assuring that Sindhu's family would be provided security.
The Sindh Assembly also passed three bills that had been returned by the governor without giving his assent. The bills related to the Government College University in Hyderabad, University of Modern Sciences in Tando Muhammad Khan and Sohail University in Karachi.
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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers continued their protest outside the Sindh Assembly against prolonged load-shedding in Karachi and bad governance in the province.
PTI MPAs Khurrum Sher Zaman and Dr Seema Zia threw bangles at the entrance of the assembly as a sign of protest. They lamented that the provincial government had failed to improve the province's condition.
Eight to 10 hours of load-shedding continues in Karachi but the government has yet to take it seriously, Zaman said. The PTI lawmakers had staged a similar protest outside the assembly last week against alleged corruption in the Sindh government.
While talking to the media, Khuhro responded to the PTI's allegations. Calling party chief Imran Khan a dictator, he said the bangles brought by the PTI MPAs might have been gifted to them by Reham Khan. Imran has always been a supporter of dictators and he has no right to lead a political party, Khuhro retorted.
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