Kalabagh dam likely to dominate PA session today
KARACHI, Dec 5: While the government has set a heavy agenda, including a resolution rejecting the Kalabagh dam project, opposition members are planning to raise the issue of alleged rigging in Tuesday’s by-elections during Thursday’s session of the Sindh Assembly, meeting after a break of around three weeks, it is learnt.
The session is expected to be as noisy as the last one. During that session the opposition members of the assembly had agitated against the controversial local government bill, which has now become an act, and staged a walkout from the house.
The opposition besides raising that issue again is expected to raise the issue of the recent by-elections, which they allege were rigged.
Sources say at least two bills are to be introduced and a Public Accounts Committee report is also expected to be put before the assembly.
The speaker is also expected to announce the assent given by the Sindh governor to a bill earlier passed by the assembly. The government is also likely to present at least seven bills for consideration of the assembly.
Responding to Dawn queries, Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon said the government was planning to move a resolution against the Kalabagh dam project on Thursday.
He said the issue had been dead for a long time, but since it has reemerged, the party had decided to once again get a resolution passed by the assembly to reject the plan.
Responding to Dawn queries, Nusrat Seher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional said her party was planning to raise the issue of “mass-scale rigging done by the government” during by-election at PS-21 in Naushahro Feroze. She said they had audio and video evidence of rigging that the party planned to share with the media and to submit to the election commission besides highlighting it in the assembly.
She said the Pakistan People’s Party had misused government machinery in support of its candidate and bogus votes were cast to turn the candidate’s probable defeat into victory.
Regarding what they planned to raise in the assembly besides the election issue, she said that since the PPP government had been in power the agenda of work for assembly sessions was delivered late in the night so that the MPAs did not have enough time to collect required information and prepare for the next day’s assembly session. The agenda had not yet been provided to them and it was already late in the evening, she added.
The sources said the speaker was expected to announce that the governor had given assent to the Sindh Public Procurement (Amendment) Bill, 2012. The bill was brought to the assembly and passed within minutes with consensus as the opposition members had staged a walkout against it.
The amendment gives powers to the government to grant exemptions from the SPP Rules, which had originally been formulated to ensure transparency in government procurement. The amendment to the Sindh Public Procurement Act 2009 in Section 21 says: “Notwithstanding anything contained in this act or any other law and rules or regulations made thereafter, for the time being in force, government shall have the power to grant exemption to procurement of an object or class of objects in the national interest from the operation of this act or any other law or rules or regulations made there under regulating public procurement.
“Provided that the authority may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, recommend to the government that the procurement of an object or class of objects in the national interest be exempted from the operation of this act or any rules or regulations made there under or any other law regulating public procurement and government on such recommendations may, if it deems fit, exempt the aforesaid objects or class of objects from the operation of such laws and rules and regulation made there under.”
A report of the Public Accounts Committee regarding draft paras for the financial years 2005-06; 2006-07; and 2007-08; (auditor general’s reports 2006-7; 2007-08; and 2008-09) is also expected to be put before the assembly for adoption. The government is also expected to introduce the Government Bill No 13 – The Sindh Civil Servants (Regularisation of Absorption) (Amendment) Bill 2012. It is also expected to introduce the Karachi School of Business and Leadership Institute Bill 2012 for consideration.
Some other bills that are expected to be brought in for consideration are: 1) Bill No 09 of 2011, The Sindh High Density Development Board (Amendment) Bill 2011; 2) Bill No 02 of 2012, The Education City Bill 2012; 3) Bill No 12 of 2012, The Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto University of Law Karachi Bill 2012; 4) Bill No 21 of 2012, The Jinnah Sindh Medical University Bill 2012; 5) Bill No 22 of 2012, The Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill 2012; 6) and Bill No 23 of 2012, The Sindh Civil Servants (Second Amendment) Bill 2012 and 7) Bill No 26 of 2012, The Sindh Revenue (Amendment) Bill 2012.
An adjournment motion, No 01 of 2012, given notice of by Saleem Khursheed Khokhar is also expected to be taken up and questions related to the environment and alternative energy department are likely to be raised during the question hour during Thursday’s session, set to begin at 10am.