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December 21, 2019

Opposition MPAs question less Zakat money given to beneficiaries in Karachi

Karachi

December 21, 2019

Opposition lawmakers belonging to two political parties complained in the Sindh Assembly on Friday that the provincial government had ignored beneficiaries of Zakat in different districts of Karachi as they did get insufficient money as compared to other cities given large Zakat sums.

The complaints by the legislators belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf were made during the question hour of the session related to the Zakat and Ushr Department.

Parliamentary Secretary for Zakat and Ushr Heer Ismail Soho, who is an MPA of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party, responded to the written and verbal queries of the legislators. It was pointed out in the house by the opposition legislators that during a given time there were only 17 beneficiaries of Zakat money in Karachi, as the maximum sum given to any of them could not go beyond Rs170,000, while at the same time a much smaller district, Khairpur, had over 200 recipients of Zakat and they had received up to Rs 400,000.

MQM lawmaker Muhammad Hussain Khan asked why Zakat beneficiaries in one district of Karachi each got Rs10,000 only, whereas the same sum for the Zakat recipients in another district was Rs20,000.

The parliamentary secretary said such allocations of Zakat money were determined on basis of the population of each district, while beneficiaries in one district received only Rs10,000 because of the higher number of applicants there.

The MQM lawmaker said the Zakat sum in that district should be at least Rs 20,000 in case of each of the beneficiary, given the smaller number of applicants as shown in the record.

The parliamentary secretary informed the assembly that the government had released Rs26.31 million as Zakat money between January 2017 and June 2018, and 1,445 beneficiaries, including orphans and girls belonging to poor families, received this money.

Soho failed to answer a question regarding district-wise allocations of Zakat funds and promised the chair that he would provide this information to the assembly later.

She said that one type of financial assistance being provided by the Zakat and Ushr Department to poor families was a Guzara Allowance and its disbursal took place through ATM cards of Sindh Bank. The department also provided financial assistance to poor students for the payment of their tuition fees, book expenses and procurement of other study material.

Similar financial assistance was also provided from the Zakat funds to students of degree and postgraduation programmes of colleges and universities in the province.

Release the teachers

Opposition lawmakerMuhammad Hussain Khan, speaking on a point of order, raised the demand for immediate release of protesting schoolteachers who had been rounded up by police after a baton charge during their agitation outside the assembly while the session was in progress on the day.

He condemned the undue police action against the protesting teachers, which included a baton charge, tear gas shelling, use of water cannons, with the action culminating in arbitrary arrests of the protesters.

The MPA said that the treatment meted out to the protesting teachers was highly inappropriate given their superior social status in the society as they were supposed to educate the future generation and had to build their character. He demanded that the just demands of the teachers should be immediately met by the government.

Later, the prolonged session of the Sindh Assembly, which had been in progress since September this year, was prorogued.

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