KARACHI: The lawmakers of Sindh met on Wednesday determined to give each other a tough time.
The opposition benches criticised the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Sindh government for failing to implement its writ in the province. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) was upset that the law and order situation in Karachi has worsened and the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) was angry that the government mishandled the sugar crisis.
After an exchange of hot words, both the parties' members staged separate walkouts from the session.
Delays in sugarcane crushing
The PML-F pointed out that most sugar mills in the province have yet to start crushing sugarcane even though the court ordered them to do so. "The Sindh government seems unaware of the gravity of the issue," said opposition leader Shaheryar Mahar, who belongs to the PML-F.
Mahar and other senior ministers wanted to raise the issue on the floor but their request was denied. "The House should be briefed on what kind of action the provincial government has taken against mill owners," he asked senior minister Nisar Khuhro.
"We are trying to resolve the issue," Khuhro replied, saying that the PML-F leaders should stop using this issue to garner support among the people. "The issue is in the Supreme Court." This response was not met with much enthusiasm and the PML-F lawmakers shouted slogans against the government as they walked out.
Rising death toll
The second attack on the treasury benches came from the MQM lawmakers, when they asked Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to talk about the target killings and the worsening law and order situation in Karachi.
When Durrani stopped MQM's Ashfaque Mangi from raising the issue, the MQM lawmakers protested and then walked out of the hall.
"The Sindh government isn't serious over the matter of law and order," commented Khawaja Izharul Haq, while speaking to the media outside the assembly. He said that the situation is critical and that the armed forces should be called in.
Responding to his media talk, information minister Sharjeel Memon said that the MQM is demanding army deployment only because the party knows the army will not come in.
Security for schools
Meanwhile, MQM's Muhammad Hussain spoke about security threats in schools. Khuhro told him that the provincial government has taken all necessary measures and the law enforcement agencies have been asked to extend patrolling.
"Schools are easy targets for terrorists," Hussain pointed out, adding that adequate security arrangements have still not been taken. Khuhro insisted that the government has taken all the measures. There are around 150 schools in the city without boundary walls but the government has started building them, he added.
Meanwhile, the Sindh lawmakers also unanimously passed a resolution against the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing blasphemous caricatures. They said it was a malicious attack on the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and a deliberate attempt to incite violence across the world. The resolution was jointly tabled by the PPP, the MQM and the PML-F.
"We won't tolerate such attitude in the name of freedom of expression," said Makhdoom Jamiluzaman. "We'll not hesitate to sacrifice our lives for the sanctity of the Holy Prophet (pbuh)."
MQM's senior leader in the assembly, Syed Sardar Ahmed criticised the federal government's stance over the issue and pointed out that the French envoy has yet to be summoned and conveyed the nation's concerns on the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 22nd, 2015.
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