Pandemonium in Sindh Assembly

Row over PTI MPA Dua Bhutto’s mobile snatching incident overshadows budget debate

Hafeez Tunio June 21, 2022
Sindh Assembly Session. PHOTO: NNI


Instead of discussing the provincial budget, the opposition and treasury members on Monday vented anger over personal issues targeting political leaders and leveling allegations against each other, which created a pandemonium in the house.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari in the chair gave the floor to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Inaf (PTI) MPA Dua Bhutto, who took up the issue of snatching of her mobile phone by PPP MPA Kulsoom Chandio.

"As I tried to wrest my cell phone free from Kulsoom Chandio, one of the MPAs sitting in this house pulled off my scarf. They should be ashamed of dishonouring the sanctity of hijab," she said adding that the assembly has been convened to discuss budget issues, but ruling party members have turned it into personal autaaq, a sitting place for guests.

"Daily, more than Rs4 million are spent on the assembly proceeding, but members come here to humiliate opposition," she said and referred to PPP MPA Kulsoom Chandio who had scuffled with Bhutto on last Friday.

As Dua Bhutto continued her speech, some women MPAs of the PPP started taunting her. Responding to them Bhutto while addressing to deputy speaker said, "Madam, enn bakriyon ko kaho ke chup ho jaen" (Please ask these goats to shut up)." She said, "the way they have insulted me three days ago, shows that they have no reverence for their sister Bakhtawar Bhutto," she louldy said.

On her remarks, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla stood up and warned PTI MPA to avoid using the words against PPP leadership. "Speaker, she is uttering derogatory words against our party leaders, otherwise our MPAs will also come up with same reaction."

This created the uproar in the house as members from PTI and PPP heated arguments for a few minutes on the issue.

Tense atmosphere prevailed in the house when deputy speaker gave the floor to PPP MPA Kulsoom Chandio for budget speech.

The PTI MPAs protested. "No one should allow her to speak," one of PTI MPAs shouted. Mukesh Kumar reacting to it said, "If you don't allow us then no one from PTI can speak here." He requested the deputy speaker to intervene and directed the opposition lawmakers to avoid non-parliamentary practice. After the few minutes of chaos, the deputy speaker controlled the situation.

During the session, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh announced that the Sindh government will start providing additional 1,320 megawatt electricity to the national grid by the next calendar year.

In his budget speech, Sheikh added that Thar Coal Power Project was already generating 660 megawatt while two other units would start producing 1,320 megawatt by the next year. "Only Sindh has the solution to power crisis of Pakistan. No one else, but Thar coal has full potential to meet the energy needs of Pakistan," he said.

The energy minister reiterated Sindh's long-standing demand that under Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan, the province had the first right to use the gas it produces.

MQM-P lawmaker Mangla Sharma appreciated Sindh government's decision to increase allocations for Women Development Programme and said that the funds must be utilised for establishing Dar-ul-Amans and shelter homes for women in distress.

She also took exception to marriages of underage girls on the basis of their so-called ossification by medical boards. "Why don't you close down NADRA when you have to confirm the ages through medical examinations," she retorted.

Shaheryar Khan Mahar of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) said that pre-budget session should have been held to seek the suggestions from the members.

The GDA legislator said that law and order situation in Shikarpur district was worsening.

"All police are doing in Shikarpur is manipulating the upcoming local bodies election," he added.

Shahzad Qureshi of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in his speech said that the PPP's Sindh government destroyed the education sector. "The teachers recruited recently cannot even spell primary, how would they teach our children," he deplored.

Rana Hamir Singh while lauding the Sindh government for presenting the pro-people budget said, "I suggest Sindh government to build small dams in the sand-swept desert districts to store rain water."

Arif Mustafa Jatoi of GDA, Mir Tariq Talpur and Shazia Sanghar of PPP also spoke on the budget. Later, the session was adjourned till Wednesday.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2022.


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