KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly plunged into complete disarray on Thursday after the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers attempted to manhandle the lone MPA of Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), Syed Abdul Rashid. The PTI lawmakers tried to grab the copy of the privilege motion moved by Rashid against the Leader of the Opposition, PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi, leading to a scuffle between them. The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members intervened and rescued the MMA MPA.
It was the third consecutive day of protests started by the PTI, MQM and GDA, demanding the formation of standing committees and for the chairmanship of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in the provincial assembly.
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As the session started with Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari in the chair, Naqvi drew the attention of the House toward the issue of standing committees.
Leghari asked Naqvi to calm down as she had to finish the agenda. But Naqvi refused to budge, saying, “We will not let anyone run the session until our issues are resolved and we are given due share in the standing committees, advisory council and the PAC’s chairmanship.”
Naqvi also lashed out at two opposition lawmakers, MMA’s Syed Abdul Rashid the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan’s Mohammad Qasim. “They are not part of the Opposition,” he said. “Please move them on to the Treasury benches.” The PTI MPAs thumped their desks after each sentence uttered by the Opposition leader.
The deputy speaker again asked for calm. “Pakistan is in a war-like situation. What kind of message you are giving to the enemies by creating a pandemonium in the House?” To this, the Opposition leader referred to the National Assembly walkout staged by the PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and said, “We have learnt this from them.”
MMA MPA irked
MMA’s Rashid, who sits on the Opposition benches, but wasn’t supporting the other Opposition parties in their protest, stood up to respond to the Naqvi. “For the last many days, they have turned this House into a fish market. We will do politics of principles. Since this Assembly has came into being, no one from the Opposition takes me into confidence on various issues, so why should I follow them and take dictation,” he said.
In the meantime, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani reached the House. Addressing Naqvi, the Speaker asked, “What is your issue?”
The Opposition leader again raised the same point. “Opposition members are not being given due representation in the advisory committee to run the Assembly’s business. Two members from each party are supposed to be nominated, but the government is neglecting us. Why are there unnecessary delays in giving PAC to opposition?”
Waving a copy of the Assembly’s rules and procedure, Durrani said, “All is being followed as per the rules. Go and read the rules. I can’t help you.”
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This led to a heated argument between the Speaker and the Opposition leader. “We respect your chair, which is why we are repeatedly requesting to resolve the issues,” said Naqvi. Durrani, however, refused to be placated. “I know how much you respect the Speaker. You have defamed me by leveling fake allegations on social media,” he said.
Naqvi shot back at the Speaker. “What can we do if gold is being found from the locker of the Sindh Assembly?”
Saeed Ghani of PPP, condemning the attack on MMA MPA demanded the Speaker to ban those PTI MPAs involved in the attack. Looking at the tense situation in the House, the speaker adjourned the session.
The House echoed with slogans as PPP and PTI MPAs came face to face shouting slogans against each other.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2019.
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