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MQM-P staged token walkout from Sindh Assembly

29 March, 2017

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KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) on Tuesday staged a token walkout from the Sindh Assembly session to protest against rejection of a private resolution.

The House left 23 motions seeking amendments in Assembly Rules of Procedure and four motions on a matters of public importance unaddressed.

The assembly session started at around 11:10am with Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair. The resolution in question on "Private Members Day" of the house was moved by MQM-P lawmaker Saifuddin Khalid.

The resolution stated, "This Assembly resolves that Provincial Government take immediate measures to fill the vacant posts of Colleges teaching/non-teaching staff in the province particularly in Karachi." Speaking on his resolution, Khalid said Government Sir Syed Girls College had 31 teaching departments and majority of them lacked teachers, adding that the situation at Government Abdullah Girls College was the same. "If prominent government-run colleges of the city were facing shortage of teachers then anybody could guess well what should be the situation of staffers in govt colleges in under-privileged areas of the Karachi including New Karachi, Korangi, Gadap, and Malir," he added.

MQM-P lawmaker Sabir Qaimkhani said the issue being discussed in the House was not just confined to Karachi but it had become the common problem all over Sindh. Standard of education in the province had declined as shortage of teachers had been persisting everywhere as even primary level education was not being focused with due level of attention, he said, adding, textbooks being printed by Sindh Textbook Board were replete with mistakes. Terrorism only is fought off after improving standard of education, he added.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by announcing to build a university in Hyderabad had won the hearts of people of the Hyderabad city, he added.

MQM-P lawmaker Dr Zafar Kamali also supported the resolution and said that any society could only do progress after focusing on education system. He also thanked the prime minister for announcing to establish a university in Hyderabad. He also requested the PM to establish a university in Mirpur Khas as well.

The speaker remarked the PM was visiting the entire Sindh and someday he would also visit Mirpur Khas.

Giving the government's input on the resolution in question, Sindh Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar said presently shortage of teachers in colleges had been overcome.

More teachers would be recruited through the Sindh Public Service Commission while the newly recruited teachers would be required to submit an undertaking under which they would be required to serve for a period of five years at the educational institution where the new teachers would be posted for the first time, he added.

Newly recruited college teachers would be dismissed from service in case they tried to use any influence or unfair means to get transferred to other college during first five years of their service, he said, adding that teachers of govt-run colleges would be required to teach for 42 hours in a week while they would also be required to deliver five lectures in a week.

After the minister's explanation, the speaker announced rejection of the resolution. On this the MQM staged a walkout.

Another private resolution of Opposition lawmaker Nand Kumar Goklani regarding establishing a trauma centre was also rejected by the House. The resolution stated, "This Assembly resolves that provincial Government establish well-equipped modern trauma centres at each district headquarter in the province for providing immediate treatment particularly to the victims of accidents and other emergencies".

Speaking on the resolution, Sindh Health Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro said the Sindh government was in the process of upgrading the status of district headquarter hospitals. He said that the mover had submitted his resolution some two years back as it had become ineffective after provision of facilities to district headquarter hospitals. Moreover, the provincial minister said that 25 trauma centres in the province were being made functional.

Meanwhile, the House established a four-member committee comprising of Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, Dr Seema Zia and Sardar Ahmed to review the provincial health policy.

The committee was formed on the private resolution forwarded by lawmaker of PML-F Mehtab Akbar Rashidi, which stated, "This August House resolves that Provincial Government declare Health as fundamental human right and take steps to formulate provincial Health policy of Sindh to resolve the critical health and nutrition issues in Sindh province."

Another private resolution was moved by MQM MPA Kamran Akhtar calling upon the Sindh government to issue health insurance cards to all the living legends that worked and served for the society particularly the professional journalists whereas the facility of endowment fund would also be established for them. The resolution was referred to Standing Committee of Sindh Assembly on Health for further review.

In the meantime, the House formed a five-member select committee to review affairs related to emoluments and privileges of members of Sindh Assembly. The committee comprised of Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Sikandar Mandhro, Nasir Hussain Shah, Heer Ismail Soho and Mehtab Akbar Rashidi.

The select committee was established on the issue raised on a point of order by MQM lawmaker Dewan Chand Chawla who called for raising salary and other privileges of legislators of the Sindh Assembly at par with MPAs of other provincial assemblies. Meanwhile, Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that there had been a ban against holding of jirgas in view of the judgements of superior courts while there was no ban to resolve a dispute out of court.

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