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January 12, 2019

‘Frivolous’ replies of IT minister force opposition to walk out


January 12, 2019

The opposition lawmakers on Friday walked out of the Sindh Assembly to protest against what they called unreasonable attitude of a provincial minister during the question hour of the session.

The opposition legislators belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) were irked by the behaviour of Minister for Information Technology and Environment Taimur Talpur.

The opposition claimed that during the question hour, Talpur did not reply to their questions pertaining to the IT department in a satisfactory manner and instead exhibited uncalled for attitude.

The leader of the opposition, PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi, lamented a reply from Talpur who said there was no IT learning centre of the Sindh government anywhere in the province. To this, another PTI lawmaker Haleem Adil Sheikh quipped, “It is not the era of IT, in fact it is the era of JIT”.

Khurrum Sher Zaman, another PTI legislator, regretted that the IT minister failed to respond to his question regarding courses being covered under training sessions being conducted by the IT department in collaboration with the Institute of Business Administration and other such institutions.

A GDA legislator, Arif Mustafa Jatoi, asked the minister in the House to inform the assembly about the meaning of the term IT. The opposition lawmakers, however, returned to the session after a while. During their absence, the assembly did not take up any of the call-attention notices included on the agenda as they had been submitted by the opposition MPAs.

Syed Abdul Rasheed, the lone MPA of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, did not join the other opposition parties in the walkout. He appealed to the chair not to rush through the agenda of the sitting as the opposition legislators needed to be a part of the assembly proceedings.

Later, the assembly unanimously adopted the Sindh Zakat and Ushr (Amendment) Bill 2018. The new law enables formation of district Zakat committees in each of the revenue district of the province so that the Sindh Zakat and Ushr Act 2011 could be implemented on a decentralised basis to provide maximum financial benefit to the poor masses of Sindh.

Mistakes in textbooks

Speaking on a point of order, the MMA MPA, Rasheed, said it had been claimed that textbooks prepared by the Sindh Textbook Board contained some 3,900 mistakes which needed to be rectified.

The MMA lawmaker said the reported mistakes in the textbooks were of fundamental nature as they radically changed the very meaning of some sentences in the textbooks.

Rasheed called for correcting the mistakes in the curriculum textbooks before their new editions were published as tenders had been submitted to print the new editions. Responding to the point of order, Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah appreciated the opposition MPA for highlighting mistakes in the curriculum textbooks.

Shah assured the house that if the new editions of textbooks were not published, he would ask the Sindh Textbook Board to correct all the mistakes in the school and college textbooks. He asked Rasheed to cooperate with the government in this regard.

School and college curricula should ideally be revised after every 10 years, Shah said, adding that 2006 was the last time such a curricula review took place. The MMA MPA also raised the issue of reduction of seats of the Lyari Medical College. Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho informed the house that the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council was responsible for any decrease in the number of seats in any medical college and the provincial authorities concerned had no role in this regard.

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