KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly adopted a resolution on Friday to condemn the arrest of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Khursheed Ahmed Shah. The house recommended that the Sindh government approach the Centre and ask it to “shun” the practice of selective accountability as the house believes the process is endangering democratic norms in the country.
MPA Marvi Rashdi, who moved the resolution, said that the Centre had started “selective” accountability which targeted only opposition leaders. “It aims at weakening democratic dispensation in the country. These pressure tactics can’t silence opposition parties from raising their voice against illegal or unconstitutional practices of the Centre,” said Rashdi.
“The quorum is not complete. How can you run the session and begin debate on this issue?” asked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA Khurram Sher Zaman during the debate.
“This is your second tenure, but you don’t have the ability to learn how things work. You have no idea what the quorum is and how many members are required for it,” said Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in response. Durrani asked the treasury members to continue with their speeches on the resolution.
Lauding the services of Khursheed Shah who served as the opposition leader and chairperson of the public accounts committee from 2013 to 2018, PPP MPA Imdad Pitafi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan was following the footsteps of former president General Yahya Khan who caused the country huge losses, according to Pitafi. “The allegations against Khursheed Shah are of Rs500 billion and this amount is more than Pakistan’s total budget,” said Pitafi.
“How one can exempt his own sister from a corruption case?” asked Pitafi, while referring to the PM’s statements on building Pakistan on the principles of ‘Riyasat-e-Madinah’.
PPP MPA Dr Sohrab Sarki said that similar allegations were levelled against PPP’s Dr Asim but the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) failed to prove those charges.
Justice for Namrita Chandani
The murder of Namrita Chandani, a final year student Bibi Asifa Dental College, Larkana, was raised in the Assembly again.
MPA Nand Kumar Goklani of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) demanded that the government make a judicial commission under the supervision of a sitting Sindh High Court judge as opposed to a district and sessions judge. He denounced frequent incidents of minority killings and kidnappings and decried attacks on temples and forced conversions. “We are sons of this soil but some elements are hatching conspiracies to force us to leave this country,” said Goklani. “The Hindu community will die but will not leave Pakistan,” he added.
Expressing concerns over the postmortem report, Goklani suggested that a medical board be constituted, comprising Dr Farhat Mirza, Dr Pervez Ahmad Makhdoom of Jinnah Sindh Medical University and Matiari district Police Surgeon Dr Hotu Mal, to determine the cause of death. “Samples should be referred to Dow University of Health Sciences and Aga Khan Laboratories for chemical pathology analysis,” said Goklani, adding that the victim’s family must be assured that justice would prevail and be provided protection.
Sindh Parliamentary Affairs, Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the Sindh government had already announced a judicial inquiry. He added that the government had also written the letter for a judicial inquiry of the Ghotki incident where a temple was also damaged by miscreants. “The FIR of the incident has already been registered and findings of the judicial inquiry – headed by a sessions judge will be revealed within 15 days,” he said.
Encroached state land
During the question and answer session, a heated debate ensued on the issue of land encroachment in Larkana and Sukkur when GDA MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi asked Revenue Minister Makhdoom Mehboob Zaman about the retrieval of encroached state land so far.
The revenue minister told the house that in the past five years, his department had retrieved 33,160 acres of land in Sukkur and 5,536 acres of land in Larkana. He did not, however, disclose the name of a certain individual who has occupied a major portion of land in Larkana. “Why are you hiding the names of influential people who have occupied government land,” asked Abbasi.
“Larkana is my constituency. I also want to know who is involved in land grabbing,” said MPA Faryal Talpur.
“It is not our job to disclose names on this floor,” said the revenue minister.
Opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi insisted that the names be disclosed and said that if they weren’t then the revenue minister would be as liable as those occupying state land.
However, the revenue minister side-stepped the issue by saying he would provide details to the deputy speaker.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 21st, 2019.