Sindh Assembly session: As the mic shuts off, pandemonium begins

MQM MPA was giving a speech on forced conversions of Hindus on call-attention notice.


Hafeez Tunio February 17, 2014
An MPA belonging to the MQM speaks during the Sindh Assembly session on Monday before it erupted. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: Monday would have been just another day in the Sindh Assembly session were it not for Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MPA Dewan Chand Chawla and Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza.

Chawla decided to move a call-attention notice against the kidnappings of minorities in rural Sindh. As he spoke about the forced conversions of Hindu girls and cases of extortion, Chawla became more and more emotional. “I want to know who will come to the rescue of the minorities?” he wanted to know.

The deputy speaker reminded him that he cannot stir a debate on a call-attention notice but Chawla’s emotions got the better of him. “There are clear rules that an MPA cannot debate on a call-attention notice,” Raza kept saying. “You should wait for someone from the government to respond first,” she added.

As Chawla’s speech continued, an irked Raza asked the assembly workers to switch off his microphone. “He has become emotional unnecessarily, someone please give him a glass of water.”

As soon as Raza uttered these words, pandemonium began. Nearly all MPAs from the MQM jumped to Chawla’s defence. “The deputy speaker used non-parliamentary language, our MPA was raising a genuine issue,” one of them said. The hall echoed with shouts of “Shame, Shame”.

Raza refused, however, to budge. “You can leave the House if you are not interested in the proceedings but stop making a hue and cry otherwise I will adjourn the session,” she warned. As the MQM MPAs continued to react, Raza adjourned the session for 10 minutes. The MQM MPAs walked out of the hall, shouting slogans to change the deputy speaker.

Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) Dr Sikandar Mandhro and Sharjeel Memon tried to act as mediators and asked MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed to calm down his members but to no avail.

As the session resumed, speaker Agha Siraj Durrani - who was in a meeting with foreign delegates earlier - decided to chair the proceedings, much to the delight of the MQM MPAs. Their joy was short-lived and they started shouting slogans against Raza. An annoyed Lyari MPA, Javed Nagori, stepped up to call the session ‘a jungle’, which led to another onslaught from his colleagues belonging to the MQM.

Durrani requested the two sides to stay calm and tried to start the proceedings. The discussion steered towards the killing of three women and five children, who drowned in River Indus while trying to flee a police raid. It seemed the MPAs were in a mood to fight on Monday as MQM’s Khwaja Izharul accused food minister Jam Mehtab Dahar of using non-parliamentary language against MPA Sumeta Afzal Syed and asked him to apologise.

Memon jumped to Dahar’s defence as he felt he had not misbehaved. After the resulting uproar, Durrani adjourned the session till Tuesday.

12,500 ‘fake’ orders

Memon, who is the information and local government minister, confirmed that there are 12,500 employees in the local government department working on allegedly fake orders. An inquiry will be conducted and these workers will be interviewed and asked to sit for a test, after which their appointments will be confirmed. Memon was responding to MPA Shaharyar Mahar’s call-attention notice on excessive appointments.

“For two sanctioned posts of computer operators, 16 people have been appointed,” said Mahar, who belongs to Shikarpur. “Instead of four to five junior clerks, the government has given jobs to 105 people on this rank,” he said, listing down the number of such appointments in his constituency.

Memon accepted that the previous PPP government was at fault. “These appointments were made by taluka municipal administrators using their illegal powers,” he said. “A summary has been forwarded to the chief minister and we are awaiting a decision.”

Published in The Express Tribune, February 18th, 2014.

COMMENTS (1)

ground reality | 7 years ago | Reply

Apparently the only hope for minorities and liberal pakistanis is MQM. PPP that used to say it was left-wing but it did nothing in 5 years when it had full power (both federal and provincial govts).

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