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November 23, 2017



PA admits MQM-Pakistan lawmaker’s privilege motion against misuse of development funds

The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday admitted for further probe a privilege motion moved by an opposition lady lawmaker who complained that her privilege had been breached as the development funds reserved in her name were unduly utilised by a deputy commissioner posted in one of the districts in the province.
The privilege motion was moved by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MPA Heer Ismail Soho who alleged in the motion that the funds released in her name had been used by one of the deputy commissioners posted in Sukkur without any authorisation.
The lady lawmaker said she had been elected to the Sindh Assembly on a reserved seat for women. The media had reported that the development funds had been issued to five lady lawmakers of the house, she added.
Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said as a matter of principle, the development funds under the community development programme were not being issued in the names of any MPAs. “No such fund exists to date. However, the due investigation has to be done to find out the nature of the funds which are said to be utilised in Sukkur.”
Sindh Assembly Opposition Leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan, who belongs to the MQM-P, said although it was true that the development funds were not issued in the names of lawmakers but it was also a fact that millions of rupees were spent in the constituencies represented by the treasury’s lawmakers in the house. He said the opposition lawmakers in the house were being ignored by the government in the issue of release of development funds to the legislators. “This is a discrimination against our MPAs as well.”
He said the government would be facing embarrassment due to an adverse ruling of the court if the entire opposition moved the court on this issue. “The deputy commissioner has spent millions of rupees and nobody knows where this sum has been spent,” he added.
The MQM’s parliamentary party leader in the house, Syed Sardar Ahmed,

said an investigation should be held to probe this matter as in what manner the development funds to the tune of Rs20 million released in the name of the lady lawmaker, had been unduly spent by a government official. This is a fraudulent affair if laptops and other machines had purchased from the funds, he added.
The Sindh parliamentary affairs minister said a further probe had to be done to gather more information regarding the issue pertaining to funds of the community development programme. Deputy speaker Syeda Shehla Raza gave ruling to refer the privilege motion in question to the Sindh Assembly’s Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges to conduct further probe on the issue.
Media talk
Later, MQM-P woman lawmakers held a press conference after the session in which they alleged that corruption had become a serious menace in the governance affairs of the province.
A new method of corruption had been devised by the provincial administration official as they were committing fraud in the name of woman MPAs of the house, they maintained.
The lady MPAs said that for the past eight years, the Sindh government had nothing for development. Towards the end of its tenure, the development funds meant for the lady lawmakers had exhausted through fraudulent means, they added.
New policy against encroachments
The Sindh Assembly was also informed on Wednesday that the provincial government had adopted a fresh strategy to conduct operation to remove physical encroachments built across the province.
Local government minister Jam Khan Shoro informed the house that under the new strategy of the government, the people responsible for constructing encroachments would first be issued notices so to provide them with an opportunity to raze the encroachments on their own.
But if the encroachers didn’t pay heed to the government notices, the police force would be used to take action against them.
The local government minister was responding to a call-attention notice moved by an opposition lawmaker of the MQM-P, Mohammad Moin Aamir Pirzada, who had said in his notice that an amenity plot in Karachi’s Korangi area had been unduly occupied by land grabbers.
The local government minister said the Sindh government was facing resistance from anti-social elements while conducting the anti-encroachment drive. But a fresh strategy had been finalised to do the needful in this regard, he added.
Women development dept
The assembly was also informed that the Sindh government’s Women Development Department was having more male staffers than the female ones. This was told during the question hour of the house pertaining to the Women Development Department.
Responding to a supplementary question of opposition lawmaker Khurrum Sher Zaman, who belongs to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the Sindh chief minister’s special assistant on women development, Irum Khalid, informed the house that there were 80 percent male staffers and 20 percent females in the Women Development Department.
The special assistant said more female staffers should be recruited in all the provincial departments. The house was informed that Rs9,73,981 had been reserved during the current financial year 2017-18 for the Women Crisis Centres being run by the Women Development Department. These centres are being run in Karachi, Shaheed Benazirabad, Hyderabad and Jacoabad.