Speaker dismisses opposition’s motion on suicides in Thar

Says inhuman behaviour is being meted out to people in custody

Our Correspondent March 02, 2019

KARACHI: The Sindh government dismissed on Friday the opposition's plea to discuss the rising suicide trend in the drought-hit area of Tharparkar district.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Sidra Imran, moving an adjournment motion, requested the Speaker to allocate time for discussion on this issue. "Poverty, malnutrition, lack of health, education and other basic facilities are contributing factors for [people] committing suicides," she said, while referring to research studies and newspaper clippings. As the PTI MPA moved the motion, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani asked the parliamentary affairs minister Mukesh Chawla what the government's stance was on the issue. The minister replied, "We oppose the motion."

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Speaker Durrani then gave the floor to Imran to convince the House on why discussion on the issue was important. "You have to read particular rules and convince us," said Durrani.  The MPA read all the rules and attempted to convince the House to allow the discussion. "We should discuss in this House why this trend is increasing, why people are committing suicide and what remedial steps has the PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party] government has taken in its 11 years' tenure," the MPA said.

Chawla, opposing the adjournment motion, said, "Thar is important to us, but the honourable MPA has mixed many issues in one adjournment motion." He said that this was against the rules and advised the MPA to avoid mingling issues.

The opposition protested the treasury's remarks calling the adjournment a recent occurrence, but the Speaker intervened. Quoting the rules, he said, "It is not maintainable and violates rule 88(b) of Sindh Assembly.” Rule 88(b) states that a motion shall not be admissible unless it relates to one definite matter.

Earlier, PPP MPA Ghulam Qadir Chandio moving a call attention notice requested Speaker Durrani to comment on his case. He said, "We have already condemned NAB's action against you and your family". He added, "You are Speaker of this august House and we all want to know what is going on with you in NAB custody".

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Speaker Durrani said, "I am under their custody and it does not suit me to talk on this issue". He, however, added that his case was being hyped by linking it with other people. "There is a dark room without any ventilation where they have setup cells. I can't see sunlight," he said adding that there was fan and tube light in the room. "Inhuman behaviour is being meted out to people in custody," he said.

Expressing concern over the complaint lodged against him, he said, "Someone has registered a complaint with the accountability court against me that I come here every day and linger on assembly proceeding till late night". He said that there was a debate on a resolution against the Indian aggression and so it was not possible for him to cut the speeches short. 

Published in The Express Tribune, March 2nd, 2019.


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