Dengue concerns echo in Sindh Assembly

Karachi: The issue of rapid spread of dengue viral fever in Sindh province, especially in Karachi was raised in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday, with a demand from the government to take serious and solid steps to stop the disease from turning into epidemic.

The house met with deputy speaker Syeda Shehla Raza in chair. It was private members day. The house was scheduled to meet at 10:00am; however, as per tradition, it was late and finally the house met at 11:45am.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement MQM MPA Khawaja Izharul Hassan though a point of order raised the dreadful situation of spread of dengue in the province, especially Karachi. He said the experts months ago had warned of the spread of this viral disease and demanded of preventive steps, but the government remained in deep slumber and now dozens of cases of dengue are being reported on daily basis. He said due to lack of proper action by the government especially health department this year so far 11 people have died of dengue and more than 1300 cases reported so far. He demanded immediate steps of eradicating breeding grounds of mosquitoes in the month of October, which he termed main breeding season of dengue mosquitoes.

Dr Sikandar Shoro of Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarian PPPP defended the government performance. He said the government is taking proper steps to stop spread of dengue fever. However, the leader of the opposition Syed Faisal Ali Sabzwari said this is the matter of saving precious lives and not scoring political points. He asked the government to realize their responsibilities and take proper steps to save citizens from dengue fever. Sindh health minister Syed Owais Muzaffar was not present in the house.

Muhammad Hussain Khan and Zubair Ahmed Khan of MQM tabled an adjournment motion that due to pathetic sanitary and cleanliness condition in Hyderabad a number of citizens have fallen ill. However, the government opposed the adjournment motion. The MQM members requested that this was a human issue and it should be discussed in the house thinking above wording or technicalities. However, the law minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro stressed that the adjournment motion was out of order. Finally the chair gave its ruling that the adjournment motion was out of order.

The order of the day contained three private bills numbers 6, 7 and 8 presented by PPPP MPA Sharmila Faruqi. However, Syed Khalid Ahmed of MQM tabled a privilege motion that he had, four months back, submitted private bills and their numbers Bill 1, 2, 3 and 4 and their numbers were allotted to him. He said however, today on the Order of the Day his bills were not included and instead Bill number 6, 7 and 8 of another MPA were superseded and included, which breached his privilege.

The mover; however, did not further press her motion when the law minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro assured him that his bills were under process and soon be presented in the house. The Chair also assured him that she would look into the matter and resolve it.

Later, the three bills of Sharmila Faruqi Private Bill No 06 of 2013 The Sindh Marriage Functions Prohibition of Ostentatious Display and Wasteful Expenses Bill 2013, Bill No 07 of 2013 The Child Marriage Prohibition Bill, 2013, and Bill No 08 of 2013 The Sindh Prohibition of Dowry Bill, 2013 – were introduced.

The house adopted five private resolutions. Naheed Begum MQM in her resolution demanded for reversal of hike in petroleum prices. Muhammad Dilawar Qureshi MQM asked for restriction on movement of heavy vehicles in Karachi from 5:30pm to midnight. Nusrat Bano Saher Abbasi PMLF asked for steps to stop selling of intoxicative things to youth. Waseemuddin Qureshi MQM asked for more fire brigade stations in Karachi, and Rana Ansar MQM demanded minimum marriage age at 18 years.

The house also adopted unanimously 5 Private Motions all by Nusrat Bano Saher Abbasi. They were about curtailment in load shedding of power and gas; behavioural training of paramedics; implementation of special person and son quota; proper utilization of irrigation dept funds, and control in general price hike.

The members generally showed lack of interest in the proceedings and preferred to loiter in lobby, especially when PMLF member Nusrat Bano Saher Abbasi was tabling her motions . A member belonging to treasury benches at 2:55pm diverted the attention of the Chair that quorum was not maintained. At that time 38 members, mostly opposition members, were present in the house. The speaker continued the proceedings. However, soon a minister went out and the members of treasury benches present in lobby came back and the quorum was maintained.

Later, the acting speaker adjourned the session to Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 10:00am.

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