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MQM MPAs stage walkout against government’s ‘apathy’

MQM MPAs stage walkout against government’s ‘apathy’

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Party lawmakers say govt not responding to arbitraryarrests of activists and issues faced by Karachi

Karachi

The lawmakers of the opposition Muttahida Qaumi Movement staged a walkout from the Sindh Assembly on Monday against what they described as the provincial government’s lack of action in addressing the long-pending grievances of the party including missing activists and their arbitrary arrests. 

MQM’s Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan, the leader of the opposition in the House, led the party lawmakers’ walkout from the proceedings towards end of the session.

He said the MQM legislators would not listen to more assurances by the parliamentary affairs minister on floor of the House that the party’s issues would be addressed.

He added that minister’s assurances had no practical value and were of no help. 

The opposition leader said that during the last one year, delegations comprising leaders of his party had met with the chief minister on three occasions in connection with different issues of the party and those of the residents of Karachi.

“But despite the passage of a year, all these issues, including water shortage in the city, remain unaddressed,” he added.

He said this posed a question mark on the chief minister’s method of governance.

“Several days have passed but there has been satisfactory explanation given in the House on the arbitrary arrest of Farooq Jameel Durrani, the MQM’s newly elected councillor in Mirpurkhas,” he added.

Earlier, MQM MPA Muhammad Hussain, on a point of order, raised the issue of the hostile environment being faced by elected representatives belonging to his party in Shah Faisal Colony, Landhi, Malir, and Lines Area.

The MQM lawmaker said the situation had become so hostile that the MPAs of his party and newly elected councillors, chairpersons and vice chairpersons could not attend their offices in these localities of the city.

He added that nine MPAs of the MQM belonged to these areas but they could not attend their offices in their respective constituencies and listen to the grievances of their constituents.

He said hooliganism and violence was at its peak in these areas against MQM activists and supporters too by miscreants of a rival political party but despite repeated requests, police and other law-enforcement agencies had not sprung into action to take corrective measures.

The MQM legislator said the situation had worsened to the extent that in case police were approached to file complaints against political opponents involved in violence against the MQM, the police, instead of taking any action, would inform the rival political party about the identity of the people who had

filed the complaints so that there could be further violence against the aggrieved activists and supporters. In response, parliamentary affairs minister Nisar Khuhro said the MQM legislators were unduly expressing their resentment as the operation against criminals in the city was originally launched on their party’s demand.

Khuhro recalled that it was the MQM which had originally demanded that the army should launch an operation in Karachi against criminals and it should commence from Lyari.

He said since the launch of the operation, the law and order situation in the city had improved significantly and almost all political parties had been targeted because of the presence of criminals within their ranks.

‘James Bond’

Earlier, speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani informed the House that the assembly’s security had been beefed up in the wake of the incident a few days ago when a “James Bond” {TV show host Iqrar-ul-Hassan) had come to there to do perform his “drama”.

He added that the TV show host should have known better that it was not a grocery shop where he could perform his dramatic act but the premises of the provincial assembly that held a very high esteem, prestige and value.

During the session on April 29, the TV show host and his associate were arrested in the assembly hall for unauthorised entry and bringing a loaded pistol with them in a “sting operation” to prove serious lapses in security arrangements for the assembly. 

Security boost troubles MPAs

As Monday was the first day of the proceedings after Friday’s incident involving the TV host, the assembly’s premises and its surroundings witnessed elaborate and highly beefed up security arrangements. 

Finance and energy minister Murad Ali Shah chose to stay away from proceedings when his vehicle was denied entry into the assembly building because of the absence of the official assembly sticker on it. The minister was advised by the security staff to leave his vehicle and walk up to the assembly building.

Murad Ali Shah chose not to attend the session because of this restriction. Opposition leader Khawaja Izhar-ul-Hassan’s vehicle too was stopped at the gate and he walked to the legislature. MQM parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said he and some female lawmakers had to walk to the assembly building to attend the session but he did not mind the strict security.

Absent lawmakers

The speaker warned that due action would be taken as per the rules and procedure of the provincial assembly against absent lawmakers who had not submitted their leave application.

He particularly urged the opposition leader to remind the legislators belonging to the opposition parties to submit leave applications to the secretariat of provincial assembly.

Following the announcement, two separate motions were submitted by the opposition lawmakers in the secretariat of the assembly recommending action against two long-absent legislators belonging to the treasury benches – Syed Owais Muzaffar and Sharjeel Inam Memon. Shaharyar Khan Mahar and Amir Haider Shah Shirazi of the PML-F submitted the motions. The opposition leader complained the privilege of the MPAs was being breached because of the unexplained and undue delay in presenting before the House the report of Tharparkar inquiry commission the contents of which had been leaked to the media.

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