If you’re responsible for a disaster, they better put you behind bars


The Sindh Irrigation (Amended) Ordinance 2011 was introduced in the provincial assembly on Friday – a law that would allow removal of encroachments from the natural passageways of floodwater.
If the ordinance is passed, the government would be able to vacate granted or leased lands where encroachments hinder the flow of floodwater.
If the occupants do not vacate the lands, they would face 10-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 1 million. This would be non-bailable offence.
The assembly session, chaired by Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, started with the members praying for the health of President Asif Ali Zardari and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) chief Pir Pagara.
Provincial minister Haji Muzaffar Shujra told the House that Zardari is recovering and feeling well now.
 The irrigation ordinance was introduced in light of the findings of the report prepared by a commission probing the flood disasters in the province in 2010 and 2011.
According to the report, the destruction caused by the floods was due to the encroachments blocking the natural passageways for floodwater. The commission had also warned in the report that more heavy floods can be expected in the next 10 years. If the passageways are not cleared, there would be more disasters in the years to come.
TEACHERS: Speaking on a point of order raised by PML-F’s Nusrat Saher Abbasi, Senior Education and Literacy Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said the teachers appointed through an IBA test would be granted permanent status by formulating a law but only those with the best record among them would be selected for this purpose.
“Those teachers, who don’t respect their jobs, don’t go to schools to educate students and only come out on roads to protest, will not be granted permanent status,” he added.
The minister said that the chief minister has signed the summary to grant permanent status to the teachers and the draft has been sent to the Law Department for reviewing.
He said that the government would terminate the teachers, who are working with media groups and nongovernmental organisations and not performing their duties. “However, they will be allowed to tell their side of the story before they are expelled,” he added.
Haq said the government is planning to recruit 14,000 new teachers on merit.
NO CHAIRMAN: MPA Marvi Rashdi of PML-F raised a point in the House that the current provincial assembly has almost completed four years but there is still no chairman appointed for the privilege committee. She said that when she contacted the members of the committee, they told her that they were asked not to attend the meeting, which was held to select the chairman.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said the Pakistan People’s Party did not ask any member not to attend the meeting; not even its own MPA Faseh Shah, who also happens to be Rashdi’s husband.
ARCHAEOLOGY DEPARTMENT: Replying to a question, Culture Minister Sassui Palijo said that though the Archaeology Department has been transferred from the federal government to Sindh in accordance with the 18th constitutional amendment, its assets and funds have not been handed over to the provincial government so far.
She also announced that the Culture Department would give an award every year named after Hassan Dars, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Moeen Akhtar.
UNIVERSITY OF KARACHI: Speaking on another issue, Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said he would talk with the University of Karachi vice chancellor as to why students from areas of Sindh other than Karachi are not given admission to the university.
SEMINARY: The members of the assembly also expressed deep concern over the discovery of students kept in chains at a seminary in the Sohrab Goth area of Karachi.
Home Minister Manzoor Wasan said he has ordered police and its special branch to identify such seminaries throughout Sindh and take action against them. Responding to a point of order raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Faisal Subzwari, Wasan said that 75 students were released from the seminary, out of whom, 86 have been handed over to their parents and seven are at the Edhi Home in Sohrab Goth.
“One of the men running the seminary, Mufti Daud, has escaped while the other, Qari Usman, has been arrested,” said Wasan.
The minister said that a meeting was held with clerics to decide action against unregistered seminaries.