Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Act adopted: PA legalises out-of-turn promotions
KARACHI, Feb 7: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday hurriedly adopted the Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Act, 2013, which legitimised all out-of-turn promotions given to government officials, amid walkout by opposition legislators.
It was the first walkout of the new calendar year of the assembly which witnessed its first uproar of the year over an adjournment motion of NPP lawmaker Masroor Jatoi.
Besides adopting the Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013, aimed at legitmising all out-of-turn promotions, the house passed another bill, the Sindh High Density Development Board (Amendment) Bill, 2011.
The Thursday’s session also adopted two resolutions unanimously in the absence of opposition legislators of the PML-F, NPP, PML-L and PML-Q who had staged a walkout over the civil servants bill. A resolution paid tributes to the late Sirajul Haq Memon, scholar, historian, and literary figure of Sindh, and the other resolution urged the government to compensate families of victims of the Karsaz incident.
The house, which was called to order by Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza at 10.45 am, allowed to defer debate on the Sindh Higher Education Commission Bill, 2013 to Monday and the Education City Bill, 2012 to Feb 13 as the lawmakers had to rush to attend funeral prayers of MQM MPA Dr Mohammad Ali Shah. The session was adjourned at 1.15pm. It will meet again on Friday at 10am.
After the questions hour and disposal of leave applications the chair was briefly held by Dr Sikander Mandhro, who gave the floor to Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the NPP to present his adjournment motion.
Mr Jatoi hit out at the PPP before reading out the motion, drawing the ire of treasury benches. The chair asked Mr Jatoi to read out his motion first. He said: “The current government is engaged in blatant political and economic victimisation of the poor people of Sindh by denying them their basic rights to civic amenities like electricity, water, gas and employment.”
He said his motion was substantiated by the official correspondence about cancellation of recently approved electrification schemes for a number of villages.
Syed Murad Ali Shah opposed the motion and said it was hit by rule 73 as it mentioned four issues, electricity, gas, water and unemployment and was thus was not admissible.
Waving papers Mr Jatoi said the chief minister had approved an electrification scheme for nine villages on his recommendation on Aug 31 last year but later ordered to stop work on them after his party quit the coalition.
Mr Jatoi’s remarks caused an uproar and a number of members on both sides started speaking at the same time. If it was not his right to act according to his conscience then the government should “put me in prison but why the poor people of nine villages in his constituency were being punished”, he said.
Rafique Engineer quipped if Mr Jatoi loved the poor so much then why he did not distribute his land among them. The remark added fuel to the fire but sanity returned soon when the chair ruled the motion was hit by rule 73(1) and thus was not admissible.
Later Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro laid before the assembly the books of appropriation of accounts of the Sindh government for the year 2010-11 (Volume I & II) and financial statement for the financial year 2010-11 and referred to the APC for consideration.
The annual reports of the Islamic Ideology Council for the years 1997-98 to 2008-09, review reports of criminal act 1898, civil act 1908, Islamic legislation of laws part-I and part-IV and report of reforms of prisoners and prisons as required under sub-article(4) of article 230 of the Constitution were also laid before the assembly.
Towards the end, the law minister moved the motion for introduction and consideration of the Sindh Civil Servants (Amendment) Bill, 2013, which raised many an eyebrow.
Mr Jatoi uredg the house to defer the bill till such time when the matter was no longer sub judice and pointed out that he had submitted a letter to the office of speaker, drawing his attention to the fact that numerous constitutional petitions on the bill’s subject were pending before the Supreme Court.
“Its next hearing is today (Thursday), so it’ll clearly amount to contempt of court to allow the proposed legislation to be brought before the house and further, any member so voting for this proposed legislation may likewise be found guilty of contempt by the apex court which may lead to further proceedings under Article 62 and 63 of the Constitution,” he contended.
Ministers Ayaz Soomro, Syed Sardar Ahmad and Rafique Engineer reminded Mr Jatoi that the apex court had not issued any stay order over the subject and there was no bar on legislation on any issue by the assembly.
Mr Jatoi’s standpoint was endorsed by Jam Madad Ali, Nusrat Sahar Abbasi and Marvi Rashdi who proposed to refer the bill to the committee concerned of the house.
As Ms Shehla Raza resumed the chair she gave the floor to law minister who read out the motion amid cries of “shame, shame” by opposition lawmakers who later staged a walkout led by Jam Madad Ali.
Earlier, the deputy speaker administered oath to the four MQM MPAs who were elected unopposed in by-elections in Karachi, namely Jamal Ahmad, Nadeem Hidayat, Mohammad Ali Rashid and Arshad Abdullah.