Sindh MPAs assert right to legislate: ‘PPP governments always hit by judicial martial law’
KARACHI, Aug 7: Echoing developments in Islamabad, five provincial ministers launched a thinly veiled attack on the judiciary during the Sindh Assembly session on Wednesday.
Speaking on a point of order, Information Minister Sherjeel Inam Memon drew the attention of the house towards what he described as the denial of the right of legislation given to parliament by the constitution.
Although there was no tradition of speeches by other members on a point of order raised by a member of the house, Senior Education Minister Pir Mazhar-ul-Haq, Minister Syed Sardar Ahmad, Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and Archives Minister Rafique Ahmed Engineer tried to enlarge on the information minister’s point of view.
However, before some more lawmakers could be allowed by the chair to speak on the subject, the house was adjourned on a suggestion by Law Minister Ayaz Soomro at 2.15pm to reassemble at 10am on Wednesday.
Earlier after the house was called to order at 11.30am, Saira Shaliani, who had returned on the reserved seat vacated by Shazia Marri to become a member of the National Assembly, was administered the oath. This was followed by the nomination of Dr Sikander Mandhro, Ghulam Muhammad Shaliani, Heer Ismail Soho and Razzaq Rahimoo as the panel of chairmen.
The assembly was summoned by Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan at short notice to meet on Tuesday, a private members’ day. The other businesses discharged from the order of the day included the presentation of a report of the standing committee on home by its chairman Muhammad Anwar Mahar on private bill 15 of 2009 —the Control of Manipuri and Gutka Bill, 2009 — of the Pakistan People’s Party’s Humera Alwani. Private bill 1 of 2012 — The Protection of Religious Minorities’ Properties Bill 2012 – whose notice was given by Saleem Khurshid Khokhar was referred to the standing committee on local government with the instruction that its report be submitted in the next session of the assembly.The discussion on the resolution moved by Pitambar Sewani and Saleem Khurshid Khokhar seeking framing of a law to stop forced conversion and to protect the minority communities was deferred on a suggestion of the law minister to Wednesday.
Besides, the two private bills whose notice was given by Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the National People’s Party were deferred to the next session because of the absence of the mover. The bills were — The Sindh Laws (Amendment) Bill 2012, and the Sindh Control of Goondas (amendment) Bill, 2012.
The motion for leave to introduce an amendment in the rules of procedure of the Sindh Assembly could not be taken up as Arif Mustafa Jatoi, who had given the notice, was absent from the house.
Privilege motion 1 of 2012 whose notice was given by Humera Alwani of the PPP was not taken up as she did not press for it.
Irrigation water scarcity
Munawwar Ali Abbasi of the PPP through his point of order drew the attention of the house towards the unavailability of water in the Rice and Dadu canals which, he said, was the outcome of mismanagement rather than a water shortage.
Dr Sikander Mandhro said that his Badin district, which was devastated by the flood and heavy rains in 2010 and 2011, respectively, was this year facing an acute shortage of water. All the three talukas in the district had no water not even for drinking as there was no water in any of the 20 to 25 branches. This year people were able to cultivate hardly 10 per cent of the land, he said.
Responding to the point of order, Irrigation Minister Saifullah Dharejo said because of changes in weather conditions, there was 50 per cent short supply of water and even in Punjab the area under paddy cultivation was reduced to 50pc.
Khairpur woman’s ordeal
On the point of order of Nusrat Sehar Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League (Functional), the entire house condemned the inhuman treatment meted out to a woman in Khairpur, where police stripped and paraded a woman naked in the bazaar. The act, she said, brought shame not only to the people of Khairpur but also to the entire nation. She demanded exemplary punishment for the police officials involved in the shameful act.
Information Minister Sherjeel Memon said six policemen had been suspended and sent behind bars.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said he would provide a detailed report to the house on Wednesday. He said an FIR had been registered against the suspects and a charge-sheet against them would be submitted in court.
‘Right to legislate’
Without directly mentioning the apex court’s decision of scrapping the newly framed law contempt of court law, Mr Memon said: “This is our right. We are members of the house not because of any PCO, but by virtue of election with the people’s votes.
“Why is it that PPP governments have always been targeted by judicial martial law? Our leader was a victim of judicial murder. Two governments of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto were removed. When we approached the court, we were denied justice, but when Nawaz Sharif challenged the dismissal in court, he was given relief. What is the PPP’s fault that till today it has been denied justice and fair play?” he said.
“Why were judgments not passed when the assembly was the outcome of rigged elections, when the LFO was passed, the 17th amendment was introduced. These very judges had validated the unconstitutional act and Pervez Musharraf was allowed to contest elections in uniform.”
He said there was Article 6 against those who abrogated the constitution, but what was the penalty for those who had collaborated with the abrogators by validating the action.
Mr Memon said if he was wrong, he should be summoned to court.
He said when this issue was raised in TV talk shows, “we are told to forget it as it pertained to the period before 2009. Was the Swiss case not registered before 2009?”
He said when Nawaz Sharif was asked to appear in court, he refused to do so because they were “respectable people”. “Was it not contempt of court?” he said. “When judges were thrashed with shoes, the matter was mutually settled, but when an officer looked towards a judge, he was sent behind bars for staring at the judge.”
He said cases were being opened against the PPP for which their leader had remained behind bars for 11 years, but those who were sentenced for 10 years were allowed to go abroad.