PML-F pummels PPP into a corner


The Pir Pagaro-led Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) continuously put the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on the defensive during the Sindh Assembly session on Friday by taking up issues the PPP wanted to avoid. PML-F lawmaker Marvi Rashdi brought an adjournment motion to the house, which sought a debate on reported irregularities in the recently-concluded housing enumeration process in the province.
She also attempted to move a resolution to demand holding of an in-camera session of the house for a briefing on incidents of targeted killings and overall law-and-order situation in the province. After much deliberation, Stand-in Speaker Shehla Raza allowed Rashdi to move her adjournment motion based on newspaper clippings despite the fact that Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro had given a ruling a day earlier that no adjournment motion can be moved on the basis of newspaper reports.
Rashdi pressed Raza to define a criterion if newspaper reports could not be used as supporting evidence – a contention that the deputy speaker had no answers for. Raza subsequently yielded, which provided Rashdi with an opportunity to speak on the admissibility of her adjournment motion. In her motion, Rashdi stated that despite the importance of the census process in collecting social and economic data, the recent housing enumeration in Sindh was futile because of several irregularities and lack of transparency.
She demanded of the government to declare it null and void, and order a recount under the supervision of the Pakistan Army. Admitting the fact that irregularities were in fact committed, parliamentary leader of the PPP, Pir Mazharul Haq, said that his party, including Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah, had already expressed his reservations over the process.
He said that the party had communicated these to the Federal government, and relevant authorities had assured them that discrepancies of the first phase would be rectified in the next phase of population census. MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed also supported the stance of the Pir Mazhar. He said that there is no need to demand the Army’s supervision of the census process, and the parties making such demands should trust the police and Rangers. “It is not the Army’s job,” he argued.
Despite the speeches made, the deputy speaker deferred the chair’s ruling on admissibility of the adjournment motion till Monday on the pretext that time reserved for the debate was over. Opposition leader Jam Madad Ali criticised the PPP for opposing a debate on issues of public importance, arguing that on the one hand, PPP leaders claim to be have affiliation with the interests of Sindh, but on the other, they continuously avoid the issues of the common folk.
Meanwhile, the house also passed the Sindh Travel Agencies Bill-2011, that had been moved by Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro. The bill seeks to regulate travel agencies in the province.