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Friday July 19, 2024

PTI marches on CM House after speaker disallows resolution in PA

By Zia Ur Rehman & Azeem Samar
February 16, 2022

After the provincial assembly speaker did not allow the opposition to table a resolution against the rising incidents of abuse and violence against female students at Sindh’s educational institutions, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) lawmakers marched on the Chief Minister House to voice their concerns over the issue.

The MPAs also pasted the opposition’s open letter addressed to the province’s chief executive onto the wall of the CM House, demanding immediate action against the harassers, abusers and murderers of female students at educational institutes.

Leading the protest, PA opposition leader Haleem Adil Sheikh said that since Friday the opposition has been wanting to start a discussion in the House on the serious incidents of harassment, sexual assault, murders shown as suicides and other relevant issues.

“We also submitted a resolution to the assembly secretariat but weren’t allowed to speak on these matters of grave concern because the trails of the crimes of dishonouring Sindh’s daughters and their murders have a direct link to the Pakistan Peoples Party’s [PPP] provincial government, and the CM’s silence over the depressing issue indicates support to those responsible.”

Sheikh said harassment and sexual violence cases against Sindh’s daughters are emerging in different cities of the province, particularly at educational institutions, including the most recent Naukot incident, claiming that the police have been trying to weaken the case due to political pressure.

The opposition also highlighted the cases of Parveen Rind, Bakhtawar Soomro, Almas Bhan, Tania Khaskheli and Amna Chandio. “Moreover, Naila Rind’s body was found at a girls’ hostel of the Sindh University, while the murders of Namrata Kumari, a student of a dental college in Larkana, and Nousheen Shah, a student of the Chandka Medical College, were shown as cases of suicide,” read the letter.

“A DNA report by the LUMHS laboratory recently revealed a lamentable link between the cases of Namrata and Nousheen, showing that the same DNA specimen was found on the clothes of both the murdered students.”

The opposition leader noted that such distressing incidents cause widespread fear and a sense of insecurity, with a considerable number of girls resorting to abandoning their education and restricting themselves to home.

He said the National Assembly also passed a resolution that was moved by the federal government, recommending that the culprits of rape be hanged in public, but the PPP members had voted against it. The opposition termed it an indispensable decision to bring the perpetrators of such dreadful and inhuman crimes to justice and to award them an exemplary punishment.

They also demanded stringent action against the negligent officers of police, health, prosecution and other relevant departments of the provincial government, and suggested devising a comprehensive mechanism to prevent such crimes at educational institutions and provide immediate remedies so that the girls’ honour and lives can be protected and a safe and secure future can be ensured for them.

The letter stressed that being the leader of the House and the province’s CM, it was among Syed Murad Ali Shah’s topmost responsibilities to immediately address the cases of abuse of female students at educational institutions, and ensure their safety and security. “If you still remain silent on these matters, we’ll be justified in presuming that you’re equally complicit in these crimes.”

The PTI’s parliamentary party leader Khurrum Sher Zaman said Prime Minister Imran Khan has taught his party’s workers to stand with the oppressed. Zaman said that if the opposition is not allowed to speak inside the House, they will convene a sitting in front of the CM House.

Earlier, the opposition leader was not allowed to raise Parveen’s issue during the initial portion of the PA sitting when the House was praying for the deceased. He said the PA should pray for Parveen as she had reached Karachi to seek justice from Sindh’s rulers. PA Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani, however, interrupted him and stopped him from talking any further, saying that it was no way to make a request for a prayer in the House.

Meanwhile, responding to the queries of lawmakers during the PA’s question hour, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said Sindh had the resources to resolve the energy issue of the entire Pakistan, but the Centre had unfortunately not been showing any seriousness.

He advised the PM to contact PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to work together to overcome the country’s energy crisis. He said the Centre was responsible for the electrification programme of villages in the province but it had not been ably fulfilling its obligations.

He also said the Sindh government had deposited billions of rupees with federal agencies for the provision of electricity to the province’s rural areas but to no avail.