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Call in PA for steps against honour killings

Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI: A woman lawmaker highlighted a horrendous incident of Karo-kari vengeance in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday and demanded punishment for the culprits and measures to curb the scourge in the province.

The law minister said he had already sought a report on the Monday incident and assured the house that the culprits would not get away with the crime.

Tuesday being private members day, neither any of the resolutions nor any motion could be taken up from the order of the day for want of time. The house was called to order at 1.30pm, hours behind its scheduled time of 10am. After the points of order and question hour sessions, the house continued general discussion on a resolution moved jointly by a number of lawmakers on the 84th birth anniversary of the founder chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

It was the third day of discussion. Before the resolution was put to the vote and passed unanimously, 12 lawmakers had spoken on it. In the resolution the assembly paid tribute to “the unparallel leadership of Quaid-i-Awam Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto”.

After the resolution was passed, when the chair was about to take up the next item from the order of the day, the law minister proposed that the session be put off to Friday so that the lawmakers could go back to their constituencies and supervise development and relief work. At 2.15pm the chair called it a day to meet on Friday at 10am.

Earlier, the assembly was stunned when Nusrat Seher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) on a point of order recalled the incident of a young couple of Ghotki who had escaped an attempt to have them crushed under the wheels of a train.

She referred to a video recording aired by a private TV channel on Monday showing Afzal Sher and Saeeda Sher tied to railway tracks with some gunmen keeping a watch over them and waiting for the arrival of a train to crush the couple as a punishment for an alleged Karo-kari offence. But someone informed TV channel people who rushed to the scene. They
were reportedly fired upon by the armed men to scare them away.

However, apprehending their identification in the video film that was being made by the channel team, they ran away leaving the couple tied to the tracks. She said the couple were rescued by the media team.

She condemned the incident and lamented the failure of police to reach the spot to save the couple.

Demanding arrest of the culprits, she expressed the need to take effective measures to stop the Karo-kari menace in Sindh.

Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, responding to the point of order, condemned the incident and assured the house that an inquiry had already been ordered through the SSP concerned and a detailed report sought, which would be laid before the house.

The minister blamed military rulers for the menace of Karo-kari, claiming that dictators had done nothing to increase literacy in the country to increase awareness among people.

Before giving the floor to Ms Abbasi, Speaker Nisar Khuhro had allowed Sports Minister Dr Muhammad Ali Shah to make a statement under Rule 215.

Mr Shah said the Rs50,000 grant he had announced during the last sitting for eminent footballer Abdul Ghafoor Baloch, who had led the national football team for a couple of years, had not only been paid to him but his department had also approved a Rs3,500 monthly stipend and Governor Ishratul Ibad Khan had announced a grant of Rs100,000 for him. He said the footballer’s case was highlighted by lawmaker Rafique Engineer.

Another important issue, raised by Dr Sikander Mandhro, pertained to the arrest of three students of Sindh University’s engineering college who were taken away by, what he called, agencies and whose whereabouts were not known to their families.

Humera Alwani drew the attention of the house towards the suspension of classes for the last five days in the university after the murder of a professor and demanded a formal investigation into the murder with reference to the law and order situation on the campus.

The law minister said he had asked the SSP and the DIG concerned to submit a report explaining the reasons the students were arrested.

Nawab Taimur Talpur of the PPP through his point of order drew the attention of the speaker towards his rulings given during the last four years for activating the privileges committee by holding election for its chairman.

“If it was a decision not to form or activate the committee, a special committee be constituted to deal with my privilege motion which had been pending from the last four years”.

The law minister said the committee was intact but the issue was of its chairman who could not be elected for want of attendance of the members of the committee. Despite the issuance of notices whenever a meeting was summoned, election could not be held for lack of a quorum.

Shaoib Ibrahim of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement said that although the government had increased pension of widows from 50 per cent to 75pc, the decision had not been implemented. There was a need to ensure that widows should be paid 75pc of the pension.

Dr Sattar Rajpar complained that sugar mills were not buying sugarcane from growers of Moro, Mehrabpur and Kandyaro.Agriculture Minister Syed Ali Nawaz Shah replied that there was no zoning system and the secretary for agriculture had recently held a meeting with representatives of sugar mills and had issued them a warning on the issue. If his complaint persisted, it should be brought to his knowledge, he added.