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April 8, 2015

3,729 schools in Sindh remain shut


April 8, 2015

The education minister told lawmakers during the provincial assembly proceedings on Tuesday that the number of closed government-run schools in the province stood at 3,729, of which 87 schools were non-functional because of law and order problems.
Nisar Ahmed Khuhro was responding to verbal and written queries of lawmakers in a question hour related to the education department’s affairs.
The minister said the provincial government had managed to reopen 1,500 closed schools. Of the 3,729 closed schools, 1,677 schools were non-functional because there was a shortage of teachers. To address the problem, he added, the fourth round of teachers’ recruitment would soon start under selection procedure of the National Testing Service.
Khuhro said 659 schools were shut either because of low population or poor enrollment rate and 103 because of their shifting or merging with other schools.
He said 1,066 schools were closed because of their non-feasible status as there were other government-run schools near them.
Khuhro said teachers had posted at 1,300 of the 1,500 reopened schools. He added that of the 20,700 teaching vacancies in the province, 17,000 posts had been filled through National Testing Service exams.

Censure motion
An exhibition of agitation by the leader of opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Shaharyar Khan Mahar of the Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F), cost him dearly by incurring a permanent stain of ‘disorderly conduct’ on his record.
During the session, members of the Sindh Assembly, in a rare move, passed a censure motion against Mahar for tearing up his personal copy of the booklet of rules of procedure while protesting near the rostrum of Sindh Assembly Speaker while protesting against the chair for ignoring call for attention notices of opposition lawmakers despite being part of the House’s agenda for Monday. A few other PML-F MPAs had also protested in the same manner.
The censure motion,

presented by Pakistan People’s Party MPA Dr Sikandar Ali Shoro, stated: “This house strongly condemns and censures Mr Muhammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar, MPA/leader of opposition in the Sindh Assembly, for the disorderly behaviour of tearing the prestigious book of Rules of Procedure throwing it away in the air. This is a dangerous trend towards damaging the parliamentary practices in democracy”.
Dr Shoro suggested to the Speaker to take action against Mahar by debarring him from at least one sitting of the provincial assembly to drive home the gravity of his misconduct.
He said tearing up the book of rules of procedure and throwing it into the air expressed the total disregard of opposition leader for the present democratic dispensation in the country. He said Mahar by his disorderly conduct had lost the right to remain a member of the House and demanded that he apologise to the entire assembly for his insulting behaviour to the legislature
The opposition lawmakers, of the PML-F and also those from the PML-N, first protested in the house against decision of the speaker to allow Dr Shoro to read out the motion out of turn, when other items on the House’s agenda had yet to be discussed.
Later, when they learnt about the content of the motion, the MPAs rushed to the speaker’s rostrum again to agitate by chanting slogans against treasury benches and the chair.
However, despite the vociferous protests, the treasury benches passed the censure motion. Immediately afterwards, the session was adjourned for April 10.
Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, at the beginning of the session, had asked Mahar to apologise for his disorderly conduct on Monday and the leader of opposition, while conceding that tearing up of the booklet of rules of procedure had been wrong, had refused to apologise. He had said the booklet was not the constitution itself but a document prepared in its light and went on to criticise the speaker and deputy speaker for failing to observe the rules of procedure themselves. To this Agha Siraj Durrani responded with a suggestion of moving a no-confidence motion against the chair.
Talking to the media afterwards, Mahar said the passage of the resolution demonstrated how wary the treasury benches were of the opposition despite its paucity of members in the House. He said the opposition will not provide any opportunity to the ‘exploitative forces’ for taking any undemocratic set up. He said in the next election, they will be voted out by the people themselves owing to their show inefficiency and bad governance in the province.
Private resolutions
Among other business on Tuesday, three private resolutions were unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly.
The first resolution was moved by PPP MPA Nusrat Sultana and called for ensuring the provision of emergency exit routes in all public and private high-rise buildings in the province.
Speaking on the issue, Muttahida Quami Movement lawmaker Muhammad Hussain Khan said the Sindh Building Control Authority should enhance its monitoring over building and construction practices in the city where there were thousands of illegally-built multi-storey buildings.
Sindh local government minister Sharjeel Memon said high-rise constructions to be built under the newly-constituted Sindh High Density Development Board will ensure implementation of all the necessary provisions of emergency exits and public utility services on mandatory basis.
The second resolution was moved by MQM MPA Dewan Chand Chawla and demanded allocation of funds for the construction and repair of places of worship of religious minorities in the province.
The third resolution was moved by PML-F lawmaker Nand Kumar and called for implementation of the recent announcement of chief minister to recruit 2,000 police constables from minority communities, for deployment at their places of worship.
Earlier, a private bill titled “Benazir Bhutto Shaheed University Lyari, (Amendment) Bill-2014”, moved by MQM MPA Syed Khalid Ahmed, was also introduced in session. The amendment calls for doing away with reservation of 50 percent quota in university admissions for prospective students from Lyari, Malir, Kemari, and Gadap towns of Karachi.

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