Matter of ‘selling out islands’ echoes in Sind Assembly

KARACHI: Opposition members in Sind assembly here Wednesday expressed concern on alleged selling out of Sind islands to a private party, terming it selling out the interests of people of Sind.

Arif Mustafa Jatoi of National Peoples’ Party NPP presented an adjournment motion against a ‘recent allotment/ joint venture agreement between the federal government and a private party to develop and sell island of Sind amounting to thousands of acres which are the property of the people of Sind’. He said this matter was of a huge importance of the people of Sind as their precious islands were being sold out for peanuts to a private party. In this regard he also uttered the name of Riaz Malik.

Opposition leader Syed Sardar Ahmed also supported the adjourned motion. He said this was a really important issue and it should not be taken lightly. He reminded that in past precious coastal lands had been occupied by Defence Housing Authority in a similar move and neither the deprived fishers nor the provincial government was given compensation for these priceless lands. He said the port authorities had not got any ownership rights of the islands and they have got only operational rights over these lands; thus they cannot sell out these lands or enter into agreements regarding them.

Nusrat Bano Seher Abbassi of Pakistan Muslim League Functional said that according to a news report Sind Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan had made a statement that the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari had instructed that this project should be completed on war footing basis. She said this is a very crucial matters and be discussed thoroughly in this house. However, when they were not allowed to discuss the issue, the members of PMLF staged a token walkout.

Sind Minister for Culture Sassi Palejo said this was an important matter and must be discussed in the house. She said the Port Qasim Authority PQA has not right to sell out the islands of Sind.

PPP parliamentary leader Pir Mazharul Haq said this was a conspiracy of the vested interests to malign the sitting government. Sind law minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro opposed the adjournment motion. He said the islands of Sind are the beauty of the province and no one could even think out the sell them. He said the newspapers reports in this regard were misleading and could not be relied upon.

Later, speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro rejected the adjournment motion, declaring it ‘out of order’.

The speaker announced the accent of Sind Governor to two bills: The Karachi Schools of Business and Leadership Institute Bill 2012, and The Sind Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill 2013.

The books of appropriation accounts of Sind Forest Department for the year 201011 was laid in the house and sent to the Public Accounts Committee.

The house adopted unanimously four bills: Bill No 20 of 2013 – The Sind Finance Amendment Bill, 2013, Bill No 21 of 2013 The Sind Institute of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Bill 2013, Bill Non 17 of 2013 – The Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Human Resources Research and Development Board Bill, 2013 and Bill No 3 of 2012 The Bill for regulation and development of coal in Sind province bill, 2012. Sind law minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro withdrew the Bill No 3 of 2012 The Sind Coal Bill, 2012, while Bill No 18 of 2013 – The Sind Tenancy Act Amendment Bill, 2013 was deferred to Thursday.

Dr Sagheer Ahmed of Muttahida Qaumi Movement raised a point of order against an alleged statement of Sind senior minister of education and literacy Pir Mazharul Haq that no land was allocated for the proposed Hyderabad University. He said the MQM had already allocated land for this varsity at Latifabad. He requested the government to ensure legislation for the proposed university during a few remaining days of its tenure.

Pir Mazharul Haq said they have never opposed the project of Hyderabad University. However, he suggested that this university should be set up in the centre of the city. He suggested that the Pucca Qila of Hyderabad should be vacated and the proposed university be set up them. On this Dr Sagheer Ahmed protested in strong terms. He said it is inhuman to demand that settled localities should be vacated to set up new projects. He said this stance of Pir Mazhar was based to score political points and it would lead to further divisions amongst the people of Sind and result in serious consequences. He requested the speaker to expunge these remarks of the education minister.

Imdad Ali Pitafi of PPPP raised a Point of Order that the Supreme Court of Pakistan had given verdict in the Asghar Khan case; however, the verdict is still to be implemented. He demanded to ensure the implementation of this verdict within two days. The speaker in his ruling asked the Sind law minister to write to the concerned quarters in this regard. However, a group of 7 MPAs of the PPPP including Imdad Ali Pitafi continued raised slogans. They gathered before the table of the speaker and raised slogans. Later, they staged a walkout but returned after two minutes. However, they continued to protest and chant slogans. Many other PPPP members also protested with them and there was grave disorder in the house. Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro tried to put the house in order and failing so he adjourned the house, amid disorder, till Thursday.