PA seeks effective check on fake drugs
KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday, which was a private members day, demanded that the government immediately curb the manufacture and sale of spurious drugs through strict implementation of the relevant laws to save precious lives.
The house also called for strict action against the organisers of car or motorbike races on roads and highways and demanded a ban on such activities under Section 144 of the criminal procedure code.The demands were made through two separate resolutions which were carried when put to the vote after half a dozen speeches by lawmakers.
The notice of the resolution on fake medicines was given by Pakistan Muslim League-Functional lawmaker Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi. Through the resolution, the assembly resolved and recommended to the Sindh government to “approach the federal government to stop the manufacture and sale of fake medicines and also ensure effective monitoring system for saving lives of people of the province”.
Ms Abbasi said this menace was everywhere but the drugs were marketed as life-saving medicines in rural areas in particular.
Pakistan People’s Party legislators Dr Ahmad Ali Shah, Dr Sikandar Ali Mandhro, Sardar Jam Tamachi Unar and Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmakers Khalid Ahmad and Dr Mohammad Ali Shah made comments on the resolution.
Recalling that in the name of oxygen cylinder, his hospital was supplied a carbon dioxide cylinder which was detected timely by an anaesthetist before the operation when the patient’s skin colour started turning black, Dr M.A. Shah said this menace had also crept in oxygen cylinders.
Another MQM lawmaker Syed Sardar Ahmad recalled that as a health minister when he raided a factory producing spurious drugs, a drug inspector came forward and stopped him from initiating action against the factory promising that he would proceed against the factory. But, the lawmaker added, he was not yet aware what action was taken against the culprits.
PPP legislator Shama Arif Mithani said the drugs regulating authority was yet to be devolved to the province under the 18th amendment to the constitution. She said the delay in the devolution was the main reason for unchecked production of spurious drugs.
The other resolution seeking action against organisers of car or motorcycle race on roads and highways was moved by MQM lawmaker Bilqees Mukhtar who recalled, in her speech, fatal accidents due to holding of races on roads and highways.
Supporting the resolution, legislators Farzana Hanif, Imdad Ali Pitafi and Shamim Ara Panhwar of the PPP and Abdul Razzaqque Rahimoon of the PML-Q said the current laws did not allow organising of a race on roads and highways. They called for effective implementation of the laws.
Home Minister Manzoor Wasan said that while the Sindh government had no jurisdiction over the highway police, which was a federal subject, a ban could be imposed on organising car and motorbike race on roads under Section 144 of the CrPC.
The house, which was called to order by Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro at 11.20am, also carried two more resolutions.
One of the resolutions, whose notice was given by lawmaker Mohammad Aleem-ur-Rehman of the MQM, discussed the difficulties being faced by civil servants/ government servants after retirement in getting their dues, benefits and pensions due to long procedure of finalisation of cases of retired officials.
The resolution proposed that the government introduce an easy system and process so that civil servants may get their dues, benefits and pension within three months of their retirement.
Sardar Ahmad said that a pension committee in the finance department handled all such cases.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro agreed with Mr Ahmad and asked the chair that after its adoption the resolution be sent to the finance department pension committee to take necessary measures to facilitate the payment of dues.
Tribute to German scholar
Through another resolution, whose notice was given by PPP lawmaker Anwar Ahmad Khan Mahar, the assembly paid tribute to eminent German scholar Dr Annemarie Schimmel for her remarkable contribution to and services for Sindhi literature, culture and civilisation.
Endorsing the resolution, PPP lawmakers Dr Mandhro, Makhdoom Jameel-uz-Zaman and Sassui Palejo recalled her valuable services and research work in the filed of Sindhi literature, culture, civilisation and her love for the soil of Sindh that was reflected in her wish for her burial after her death at the Makli graveyard.
Before the chair called it a day to meet on Friday at 10am, MQM lawmaker Heer Soho drew the attention of the speaker towards her resolution which she wanted to move under Rule 211 of the rules of procedures of the Sindh Assembly regarding shortage of gas supply in Sindh despite the fact that the province produced 73.4 per cent of total gas being produced in the country and consumed only 44 per cent. She stated the short supply of gas in the province was a violation of the constitution as its Article 158 said: “The province in which a well-head of natural gas is situated shall have precedence over other parts of Pakistan in meeting the requirements from that well-head, subject to the commitments and obligations as on the commencing day.”
Provincial Ministers Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, Shazia Marri and Ayaz Soomro said they had no objection to the resolution as it was in the interest of Sindh. But its (gas shortage) notice had already been taken at the highest level by President Asif Ali Zardari, they said. “We all seek implementation of every article of the constitution so that Sindh can also get its due rights according to the constitution.”
On this assurance from the law minister, Ms Soho did not insist on moving her resolution.
Information Minister Shazia Marri, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro and lawmaker Humera Alwani, all belonging to the PPP, drew the attention of the chair one after the other towards a statement of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif regarding his plan to set up military courts in Sindh after coming to power and an impression of creating a province in Sindh on a linguistic basis.
They said that if the PML-N really wanted to set up military courts, why they were not being set up in Punjab.
Ms Marri said this prejudiced thinking was not of Punjab or any other province but of a particular party and deserved condemnation.
Speaker Khuhro said the members could move a censure motion formally on the statement.
Dr Mandhro sought permission to move the motion in this regard but on a suggestion of Sardar Ahmad that if the motion was allowed to move, lawmakers would like to speak which was not possible in view of the paucity of time as a meeting with President Zardari was scheduled at 2pm and it was already about 2 o’clock. He added that the motion could be taken up when the house would resume its business.
On this suggestion, Dr Mandhro did not insist to move his motion.
By a point of order, MQM lawmaker Zareen Majeed drew the attention of the house towards six women who had been put in a lock-up along with their two innocent children by the Naseerabad police in district Qamber because one of their relatives, Sukku Chandio, was wanted to the police.
Earlier soon after the house was called to order, Senior Education Minister Pir Mazhar made a statement under Rule 215 of the rules of procedures of the Sindh Assembly condemning the brutal murder of Prof Bashir Chunnar of the Sindh University on its campus. He said the chief minister had taken serious notice of the incident and assured the teaching community that due action would be taken against culprits.
When Ms Abbasi tried to raise the issue of protesting doctors of the population planning department, the speaker informed the house that a day ago, he met the doctors who told him that 60 lady doctors were demanding regularisation of their services.
Minister for Population Planning Ali Mardan Shah informed the house that the doctors were appointed in 2008 on a contract basis. Officials of their scale could only be appointed by the Public Service Commission but instead appearing before the commission they got stay order from the Sindh High Court and no progress was possible till the stay order was there.
He added that he had a scheduled meeting with the doctors after the assembly session to find a solution to the problem.