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Census commissioner no-show for in-camera briefing disappoints Sindh Assembly

Census commissioner no-show for in-camera briefing disappoints Sindh Assembly

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly, which met on Thursday after a five-day break, was informed that action would be initiated as per rules if the authorities failed to honour a final request to be made to the chief census commissioner for an in-camera briefing on census for provincial lawmakers.

Despite repeated reminders from the Sindh Assembly secretary requesting the chief statistician/ chief census commissioner to arrange an in-camera briefing for the lawmakers on Thursday, no response had been received, said Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani. Yet another chance would be given to the relevant authorities by sending a final letter in this regard before initiating the action as per rules, he added.

However, the assembly session that was called to order at 11:25am had to be adjourned at 2:40pm by Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza amid a commotion by the opposition. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement initially lodged protest when Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Khuhro tabled his motion to take up The Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneur­ship Bill, 2015, for immediate consideration.

When the bill was put to the house, the aye response from the treasury benches was low and unenthusiastic, while the nay response from the opposition benches was loud and full-throated. As the chair endorsing the ayes gave the floor to the minister to initiate discussion on it, the minister requested that the chair restore order to the house. Amid the disorder, MQM lawmaker Erum Azeem Farooque made some gesture while pointing fingers at her head. In response to her gesture, the deputy speaker said her mental condition was fine and she was prepared to go to any doctor for a check-up which would only make the lawmaker ashamed. She added that the lawmakers must come to the house after reading the rules of business.

“I wish I had a camera to expunge her extra smartness,” the deputy speaker remarked and an exchange of harsh comments between them ensued.

The MQM lawmakers chanted slogans of “Go Shehla Go” and converged near the speaker’s rostrum, while the chair insisted that the minister proceed with the bill. But on the request of Mr Khuhro, the chair adjourned the session till Friday 3pm.

Earlier when the deputy speaker had termed an adjournment motion of leader of the opposition Khwaja Izhar-ul-Hasan, Mohammad Rashid Khilji and Sumita Afzal not maintainable and ruled it out of order the MQM lawmakers reacted with slogans of “Go Corruption Go”. Senior minister Nisar Khuhro, too, had opposed the adjournment motion on technical grounds. Through the motion, the MQM had raised the issue of the recruitment of 1,080 headmasters and headmistresses under the reforms support unit of the education department allegedly in violation of all rules. Mr Khuhro denied the allegation and said there was no violation of the rules in recruitment of the headmasters and headmistresses as all formalities agreed with the World Bank were met.

The privilege motion of MQM lawmaker Mohammad Hussain was ruled out of order by the deputy speaker after the senior minister termed it vague. The minister said the government submitted its quarterly report about income and expenditure in the assembly and the assembly could initiate a discussion on it, as the matter of releasing or not releasing of funds did not breach the privilege of any member.

The Sindh Workers’ Compensation Bill, 2015 after a brief discussion over the need to refer the bill to the standing committee concerned was carried. According to the bill, the compensation of Rs500,000 had been fixed to be paid to the heirs of a worker by the organisation concerned in case of his death or complete disability during his duty hours.

In response to a call attention notice of MQM lawmaker Syed Nadeem Razi, the senior minister for parliamentary affairs informed the house that until all phases of the local government polls, including the election of mayor, deputy mayor, chairman and vice chairman, the powers could not be transferred to the union councils, union committees and other local government institutions nor could they function. He said that a court had issued a stay order against the holding of elections on the reserved seats, mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen and vice chairmen.

Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2016

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