Assembly Ahwaal – Slave mentality


KARACHI – It is a custom of the Sindh Assembly that whenever any delegation or personality is invited to observe proceedings, they are either welcomed by the Assembly’s speaker or by a member, who draws the house’s attention to the guest, and others applaud in acknowledgment.
But Thursday’s session had some special guests – visitors who managed to prove to us that our provincial legislators are suffering from a slave mentality. A delegation from the National Defence College (NDC) arrived at the Sindh Assembly session – ostensibly to witness democracy at work. Their arrival seemed to have sparked a sudden change in the mood and language of some members and ministers.
The NDC delegation entered the house when the question hour was underway. Since the relevant minister was not present at the time, Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani was replying to questions on his behalf. The NDC delegation, however, seemed to spark Law Minister Ayaz Soomro into life, who stood up out of turn and started replying.
“If one minister is replying, why are you doing the same thing? And what you are saying is not even relevant to the matter,” a very surprised Speaker Khuhro said. A little while later, Soomro was at it again. This time, he pleaded with Speaker Khuhro to let him reply, seemingly to show his abilities to those from the corridors of real power.
So enamoured was MPA Ghulam Qadir Chandio with the NDC delegation that he started addressing a member of the NDC delegation from his seat. But most of members of the NDC delegation were not interested in what MPAs had to say, merely chatting amongst themselves. MPA Marvi Rashdi had moved a resolution to pay tribute to freedom fighter Pir Subhgtullah Rashdi alias Soorah Badshah, the father of present Pir Pagaro, who had fought with British armies but was hanged for his rebellion.
One by one MPAs started to speak on the resolution – Taimur Talpur also got permission to speak, but his speech started with welcoming the NDC delegation. Speaker Khuhro advised him to talk on the issue, but he was having none of that and continued waxing lyrical about the NDC folk. After spending 30 minutes observing the house, the NDC delegation left. Only then was normalcy restored. The behaviour of some MPAs and ministers was absolutely astonishing.
Long military rules and the absence of democracy in the country leaves adverse affects on the mentality of society – but more so, on elected representatives. The Sindh Assembly has a long history of struggling and making sacrifices for democracy, but today’s legislators acted differently when some from the military came to visit.