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Karo-kari claims 43 lives in last three weeks

Habib Khan Ghori

KARACHI: Forty-three women have been killed under the brutal custom of Karo-kari in Sindh during the first three weeks of this month while the year’s toll has already reached 577, the Sindh Assembly was informed on Monday.

The issue was raised by lawmaker Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi of the Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) through a point of order, while drawing the attention of the house towards the increasing incidents of Karo-kari in the province.

She said a woman was recently killed in Garhi Yasin, Shikarpur district, and her body was buried reportedly without shroud at some unknown place.

She asked Sindh Home Minister Manzoor Wasan to take effective measures to check the murder of women in the name of honour.

Instead of giving floor to the home minister, Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, who was presiding over the session, expressed grave concern over the number of killings in December and said that it would be better if the lawmaker provided the details of women killed during this month.

Ms Abbasi said she quoted the figures from a Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report which indicated that 577 women had been killed in the name of honour in the province this year so far.

Earlier, Law Minister Ayaz Soomro soon after the house was called to order at 11.15am said that the anti-democratic forces which were making the president’s return an issue had become speechless with his return from Dubai where he had undergone a medical checkup.

Heer Ismail Soho of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement said of the 328,000 acres allocated for the new city of Zulfikarabad, 80,000 acres belonged to local people whose leases were cancelled. This was a cause for concern, she said, highlighting the need to address their reservations.

Revenue Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar gave assurance to the house that no excesses would be committed against anyone.

He explained that the new city was being planned in the coastal area of Thatta, which was the vision of President Asif Ali Zardari to protect land from erosion by the sea.

He said over four-million-acre land was occupied through bogus entries after the land record was burnt by unscrupulous elements while taking advantage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on December 27, 2007.

An inquiry was being conducted to retrieve the land record so that real owners could be given back their rights and illegally occupied land could be retrieved, he added.

Legislator Munawar Ali Abbasi of the Pakistan People’s Party said that the two doctors who were kidnapped in Jacobabad over a week ago were yet to be recovered. Doctors were also being kidnapped in other districts, including Larkana, which was a cause for concern among the medical professionals who were reluctant to move to other parts of the province.

He demanded that the home department take measures for an early recovery of the kidnapped doctors.

Lawmaker Dr Ahmad Ali Shah of the PPP said growers were facing hardship in the wake of unprecedented floods and rising prices of fertilizers and seeds for the last two years. He added that their crops of cotton and sugarcane were not being picked up at the government rates.

He said the minister concerned had given an assurance on his point of order last month but nothing had happened so far.

The chair said not only sugarcane and cotton but also paddy cultivators were also facing the similar situation. He asked the law minister to get a report on the situation from the agriculture secretary and present the same in the house.

As there was no privilege motion and adjournment motion, the Sindh Shops and Establishments (Security) Bill, 2010 was referred on a motion of the law minister to the standing committee on home with the directive to file a report by the next session.

Similarly, on the law minister’s motion, the house extended the deadline by 13 days for presentation of the report of the standing committee on law, parliamentary affairs and human rights on four amendment bills (10, and 11 of 2008 pertaining to salaries, allowances and privileges of the ministers and special assistants; and bills 4 and 5 of 2009 pertaining to the salaries and allowances and privileges of members, speaker and deputy speaker).

About the presentation of a report of the committee on the rules of procedure and privileges on the privilege motion of Nawab Mohammad Taimur Talpur against Syed Sohail Akbar Shah (a former principal secretary to the chief minister), the law minister informed the house that the chairman of the committee would be elected at a meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Talpur had earlier drawn attention of the house to the matter pending over the last three-and-a-half years and the official had been posted in some other department on some higher position.

The speaker asked the law minister that the matter should be disposed of after hearing the sides. He also said it did not matter if the official was posted on whatever position as he would have to submit before the committee which represented the highest elected institution.