Lawmakers’ lack of interest mars another private members’ day

KARACHI: Opposition lawmakers’ lack of interest in the Sindh Assembly proceedings on Tuesday marred yet another private members’ day as none of the movers of private bills and important resolutions turned up in the house, though some of them were present on the assembly premises.

Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who initiated the proceedings with a usual delay of over one and half hours, expressed displeasure over the absence of opposition members on the private members’ day, mainly meant for carrying out business of the opposition members.

“This is what our lawmakers’ attitude towards assembly proceedings,” he deplored saying that the members appeared least bothered in carrying out the assembly business they had requisitioned.

At the outset of the sitting, hardly 35 members were present on both sides of the aisle with most of them leaving immediately after marking their presence on the assembly roll.

There were only a dozen members when the Speaker adjourned the house after 45-minutes proceedings.

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Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf member Omer Omari had earlier tabled two private bills — ‘The Sindh Provincial Assembly (members Privileges (Amendment) Bill of 2019 and ‘The Sindh Official Motor Vehicle Number Plate Bill of 2019 — for introduction in the house. But, none of the bills were taken up as Mr Omari was called absent in the house, though he was seen on the assembly premises.

There were two private bills as well — ‘The Sindh Education Standards and Curriculum (Amendment) Bill of 2018 and ‘The Sindh Advisors (Appoint­ments, Powers, Functions, Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) (Amendment) Bill of 2019 — to be presented in the house for consideration.

However, they were not taken up as both the movers — Rana Ansar and Arif Mustafa Jatoi — of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and Grand Democratic Alliance, respectively, did not appear in the house.

One of the resolutions, moved by GDA’s Nand Kumar Goklani, pertained to the briefing on upcoming census to the members. The mover of the resolution was among the few members present in the house at the outset of the sitting, but he was also among those who had left the house after their brief appearance. He rushed to the house immediately after he was called absent by the speaker.

The resolution on the census was likely to be supported by the treasury benches as well, but the absence of the mover deprived the lawmakers to reach consensus on the issue.

Mr Jatoi had sought the renaming of Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) as Sindh Gas Company through the resolution, but he never turned up.

Published in Dawn, February 15th, 2023