After a turbulent start, the MPAs voted in favour of two resolutions against the division of Sindh during Thursday’s assembly session – the first session after a long summer break.
They reiterated that the centuries-old boundaries of the province should remain intact. There were several members missing from the treasury benches as the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) decided to boycott the session after a Rangers raid at their party offices on Wednesday night.
War of words
Fiery statements were exchanged between the Pakistan Peoples Party and opposition MPAs over who would get credit for moving the resolution against the division of Sindh. “We submitted the resolution,” said the opposition leader, Shahayar Mahar after deputy speaker Shehla Raza announced that question-answer hour was about to start. “The division of Sindh is a matter of life and death for us Sindhis who love their motherland unconditionally. Please give us a minute to move the resolution.”
A composed Shehla Raza responded: “We are also against those who are hatching conspiracies against Sindh but I cannot give you permission to move the motion right now.” She added that the resolution was not on the agenda and promised to give him a chance once the agenda was done. There is nothing as important as this issue, said Mahar.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon stepped in to intervene and said that they would not let anyone dictate them or the deputy speaker to which Mahar responded: “No party, except yours is working hand and glove with these conspirators.”
PPP MPAs kept urging the deputy speaker to give a newly elected MPA from Larkana, Sohail Anwar Sial, a chance to speak on the issue. Raza kept ignoring Mahar and the opposition, which forced them to stage a token walk-out.
She asked Sial to read his resolution which was against the division of Sindh. It was unanimously adopted by the house. MPAs started thumping their tables and said: “Marsoon marsoon, Sindh na deson [We will die, but will never give up Sindh]”
One by one, MPAs Nisar Khuhro and Sharmila Farooqui read the resolution aloud. Afterwards, Hasnain Mirza was asked to read the resolution aloud and several MPAs repeated after him – “Democracy reflects the choice of people and the Constitution clearly provides a valid path for the creation of new provinces. If in general elections any party secures two-third majority or coalition of parties form two-third majority then it can alter the territories.”
The resolution moved by Sial further read, “Keeping in view the glorious past and importance of Sindh, this assembly unanimously resolves that Sindh has remained as one entity since centuries and shall remain the same with its existing boundaries intact forever.”
A few minutes after the walkout, the opposition members led by Mahar returned to the session and requested the deputy speaker to move their resolution, which was also on the same issue. Parliamentary Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro said, “A few minutes ago, we passed a resolution on the same issue. As per the rules, we cannot move another resolution on the same matter. We will, however, have no objection if you allow it.”
Raza allowed Mahar to move the resolution again as it was for a good cause.
Order of the day
During the session, the Sindh Injured Persons (Medical Aid) Bill of 2014 was also introduced. The bill is aimed at making a provision for medical aid and treatment of an injured person to save his life and protect his health during an emergency. “The hospital and medical staff will not have to wait for the police report or consent of victims’ relatives to start treatment,” said Dr Mandhro. “They have to start the treatment immediately to save the lives of the injured.”
The consumer protection bill was, however, deferred. An ordinance about fixing the tenure of the vice-chancellor of Dow University of Health Sciences was also laid down in the assembly. The session was adjourned to Friday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2014.