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September 18, 2019

Treasury-opposition row stops PA sitting in question hour


September 18, 2019

The session of the provincial assembly on Tuesday was marred due to a verbal clash between the opposition and treasury benches, causing pandemonium and preventing the proceedings of the House from going beyond the question hour, which was the first item on the day’s agenda.

The treasury and opposition lawmakers traded grave allegations, with their language often violating the norms of parliamentary content. To express their anger at the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, the opposition MPAs tore the copies of the agenda.

Repeated attempts made by PA Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani to restore order in the House fell on deaf ears, as after issuing several directives, he was left with no other option but to adjourn the session until Friday.

The argument broke out after PA opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi was denied the opportunity to speak in the House, resulting in the opposition lawmakers resorting to protest during the session. Naqvi warned that he would approach the International Parliamentary Union against such an attitude of the treasury benches.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla retorted that the opposition leader should not hurl threats against the treasury members of the House, saying that he was free to go wherever he wanted to lodge his complaint.

The provincial minister said that the opposition lawmakers in the House should desist from such an attitude, which was like dictating the speaker to follow their agenda.

The situation of clash in the House deepened further after the opposition legislators claimed that Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh was not fully prepared to answer the written and oral queries of the lawmakers during the question hour.

During the question hour, Shaikh said that the federal government had been doing an injustice to the power generation projects of the province, adding that it had instead preferred to generate expensive electricity through the use of imported coal.

He said that Sindh was host to the country’s only wind corridor, which was being utilised to generate up to 1,300 megawatts of clean electricity. He added that the province had allotted 40,000 acres to generate electricity from wind.

The opposition leader said that the energy minister had been giving wrong replies to the queries of the House, adding that the provincial minister did not even know the base-load of solar power plants.

Nimarta case

The opposition lawmakers demanded that a comprehensive investigation be conducted into the mysterious death of Nimarta Kumari, a student of the Bibi Aseefa Dental College in Larkana whose body was recently found in her hostel room at the Chandka Medical College.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MPA Mangla Sharma said that the House should observe a one-minute silence to mourn the death of the dental college student. She said that Nimarta had not committed suicide and that she had been murdered.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf parliamentary party leader Haleem Adil Shaikh said that a proper inquiry should be conducted into Nimarta’s death, adding that the case should not be closed after declaring it a suicide.

He said that the brother of the deceased student had refused to accept the version that the death of his sister had been caused due to suicide, as she had been facing no such compulsion under which she could end her own life.

Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said that investigation was being conducted to determine the cause of her death. She appealed to the concerned lawmakers to avoid speculations about the issue until her post-mortem examination report was received.

The minister said that an inquiry was also being conducted to fix responsibility in the case of the denial of ambulance service to the deceased heirs of a minor boy who had died at the Civil Hospital Mirpurkhas.

She said that the medical superintendent and the deputy medical superintendent of the hospital had been suspended after the incident, adding that more strict actions would be taken once the inquiry was completed.