Balochistan Assembly session marred by heated exchange

Opposition's demand for formation of review committee results in uproar

Mohammad Zafar April 10, 2019
Balochistan Assembly. PHOTO: EXPRESS

QUETTA: Harsh words were exchanged on the floor of the Balochistan Assembly on Monday following the opposition’s demand for the formation of a house committee to review current Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), with the members of the treasury benches insisting there was no need for such a committee.

During the debate, remarks were made against members representing minorities, which resulted in a heated exchange between government and opposition members. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F) lawmaker Sham Lal lodged a strong protest against the remark, while stating that he was a member of the Hindu community, but he was very much a Pakistani.

Later, the Minister for Revenue Saleem Ahmed Khosa apologised on behalf of the entire house. Upon resolution of the issue, Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo omitted the objectionable remarks from the assembly proceedings.

The session, which was requisitioned by opposition members, started two and a half hours after its scheduled time.

Addressing the floor of the house, former chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani said that he and opposition members were repeatedly demanding formation of the house committee for reviewing PSDP, and that they had been expressing their reservations over it since the first assembly session.

Balochistan Assembly session marred by pandemonium

He also sought clarity over the issue of the formation of the committee comprising opposition and treasury benches members in order to get clarity regarding the review of development schemes included in the current PSPD. "If the speaker did not want to form such a committee, he should clearly announce in the house that he cannot form the committee," Raisani said.

Raisani also sought clarification from the chief minister over his remarks that the opposition members raising the issue of PSDP review were involved in politics of opportunism. “The chief minister should be called in the house and he should be asked about it,” he said.

Opposing the idea, Minister for information and Social Welfare Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetiran said that there was no need of such a committee. “Despite government's repeated assurance, the very experienced Nawab Raisani and leader of the opposition Malik Sikander Khan Advocate are discussing PSDP,” he said.

This resulted in another exchange in which members stood up and started speaking. Nawab Raisani staged a token walkout from the house along with other members of opposition parties.

Opposition leader Malik Sikander Khan also spoke at length on the issue of PSDP. “The opposition will continue its protest until the issue is resolved according to our demand,” he said.

Amid heavy hearts, grudges: last assembly session concludes sans speaker

Opposition member Nasarullah Zerey, meanwhile, said that the government has failed to fulfill its mandate and provide relief to the people. He also lamented the slashing in Balochistan’s share in PSDP, saying it had been cut down by Rs22 million.

Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M) leaders Mir Akhtar Hussain Langove, Mir Akbar Mengal also criticised the government over its failure to ensure execution of development projects, particularly in the last eight months. They added that the people in the province are deprived of basic civic amenities of life, while vowing that there would be no compromise on the rights of the people of Balochistan.

The house was informed by Health Minister Mir Nasibullah Marri that almost 18 trauma centres have been established along the highways across Balochistan, while doctors were being appointed in district headquarters (DHQ). He said the expansion of a healthcare network would allow them to provide better health facilities to far-flung areas in the province.

While condemning violence against doctors, the health minister said that the government cannot provide security to all clinics.

Other parliamentarians including Mir Ahmed Nawaz Baloch, Shakeela Naveed Dehwar and others also expressed views regarding PSDP.


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