Sindh Assembly passes nine bills in MQM's absence
20 September, 2013
KARACHI: Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government passed nine bills on Thursday including providing legal cover to five development authorities of the province and amendments in Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), while Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) legislators remained absent for unknown reasons.
Seven of the bills including revival of five development authorities and amendments in SBCA were passed in a record 25 minutes. Sindh Law Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro brought the bills out of turn, as these were not included in the routine agenda.
All the MQM members did not attend the session; despite they had not boycotted the Assembly's proceedings. MQM's Parliamentary Leader Syed Sardar Ahmed told journalists their party has not boycotted the day's proceedings but members could not come due to their party engagements.
The MQM's absence, however, benefited the PPP to get all these bills passed easily, especially revival of five development authorities and amendments in SBCA. Now the provincial minister for local governments will act as Chairman of all the development authorities.
PPP had planned to move a resolution during the Assembly proceedings for paying tributes to banned People's Aman Committee slain leader, Zafar Baloch but it was withdrawn at the eleventh hour. According to PPP sources a draft of the resolution was also prepared at Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza's office.
Sindh Law Minister Dr Mandhro separately presented bills for revival of five development authorities in the province along with some amendments. Those include Malir Development Authority, Lyari Development Authority, Hyderabad Development Authority, Sehwan Development Authority, and Larkana Development Authority.
According to the bills these authorities have been restored from July 1, 2002, as never abolished. Law minister said former non-elected government had abolished these authorities without taking the political parties and people of the province in confidence.
Under the bills these authorities will also be restructured administratively, and now Sindh LG Minister will be the chairman of these authorities. Other members of these authorities will include an Assembly member belonging to the respective area, to be nominated by Sindh Government, Secretary Local Government, and Commissioner of concerned division, Chief Engineer, Director General of concerned authority, and two other members to be appointed by the provincial government.
According to Sindh Building Control (Amendment) Bill, 2013 the government will establish special courts to restrain construction of illegal buildings in the province. All the cases related to illegal construction of buildings will also be transferred to these courts. The government will also be authorised to establish police stations in different areas of the province. The government has also increased punishment for people involved in illegal construction from two years imprisonment to three years, and from Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 fine.
Sindh Assembly also passed Sindh Mental Health Bill, 2013 to streamline matters pertaining to care of the mentally ill population of the province. Under the bill the government has also provided legal protection to properties of the mentally ill people.
Provincial Assembly also passed a Thalassemia Control Bill, under which, medial test for couples have been made mandatory before marriages. The NGOs working in this field have been bound for allocation of at least 10 percent of their budget on providing diagnostic facilities for the disease.
Sindh Assembly also passed Sindh Fund Management House Bill, 2013 under which the government will set up Sindh Fund Management House. The Fund will make arrangements for investment of the government funds and other assets.
Earlier Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza banned entry of a vocal female lawmaker of Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) Nusrat Saher Abbasi into the house while exercising her powers to punish a member. She took action against Abbasi after refusal to sit on her directives. Other PML-F members also walked out of the house in protest along with Abbasi. Later the deputy speaker withdrew her ruling after PPP ministers intervened in the matter.
Malir Development Authority
Lyari Development Authority
Hyderabad Development Authority
Sehwan Development Authority
Larkana Development Authority
Sindh Building Control (Amendment) Bill
Sindh Mental Health Bill
Thalassemia Control Bill
Fund Management House Bill