Sind Assembly bans use of substitute milk for infants


Sind Assembly on Thursday prohibited the use of substitute milk for infants by passing the Sind Protection of Breast-feeding and Child Nutrition Law 2013 into law with a unanimous vote. Supported by two divides of the house, the law had repealed the Protection of Breast-feeding and Child Nutrition Ordinance 2002. To take effect immediately, the law provided that none of the manufactured milk could be marketed as a replacement to the mother’s milk, except those that were backed by the law.
Per Statement of Object said the legislation came in the wake of 18th Constitutional Amendment under which the healthcare sector had been devolved to the province, as previously it was a federal subject. The law was aimed to increase awareness and practices amongst the public to discourage the artificial products through protection of breast-feeding. It would also help regulate marketing and promotion of manufactured milk. “Mother’s milk is best for your baby and helps in preventing diarrhea and other illnesses,” the law prescribed. The law also proposed a penalty of Rs 50,000 to Rs 500, 000, two-year jail or both in case of violation.
The house also adopted the Education Cities Bill to create a hub for centres of excellence in education, health and research besides providing modern education and health facilities to the public. The law would take immediate effect across the province. Sardar Ahmed, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) party parliamentary leader in Sind Assembly, termed the law as important and stressed the need for an effective enforcement of it.
Law Minister Ayaz Soomro said the bill had a clause to appoint five members to the Board when Archives Minister Rafiq Engineer proposed the nomination of locals in respective areas to the Board of Governors for easy completion of such education projects. Public Accounts Committee Chairman Jam Tamachi called for setting up a house business committee to take all lawmakers in confidence on future legislation to avoid differences.
The house made a couple of changes in the bill that included replacement of the word “chairman” with “chairperson” of the Board and to allow the Sind Assembly Speaker to nominate two provincial lawmakers to become members of the board. The Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP) legislators Munawar Abbasi, Nargis ND Khan, Shehla Raza, Farzana Baloch, MQM’s Heer Soho, Muzammil Qureshi and others also spoke on the occasion. Saleem Khursheed Khokhar of PPP withdrew his adjournment motion after presenting it for amenability in the house, on the assurance of Ayaz Soomro to dispel his concerns. His motion was about making the religious education for non-Muslims according to their religion which included Hindus, Christians and other minorities, like the government had made studies of Qur’an compulsory for Muslim students from class four to matriculation. The house would meet again Friday at 10am.