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MQM’s bid to get Karachi, Hyderabad declared calamity-hit foiled in PA

The opposition legislators belonging to the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) resorted to a vocal protest in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh on Monday after they were denied the opportunity to present their resolution on Karachi and Hyderabad.

The resolution drafted by the MQM-P was aimed at discussing in the House the adverse situation prevailing in the two biggest cities of the province owing to the lockdown regime against the spread of Covid-19.

The MQM-P through its resolution wanted to declare both the big cities calamity-hit areas to postpone the recovery of taxes from their residents in view of their serious economic hardships due to the continuing lockdown measures.

All the opposition lawmakers belonging to the MQM-P took part in the protest in the PA in violation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) imposed against the coronavirus, which restricts the number of legislators present in the assembly at a time during the session.

Later, talking to media persons after the adjournment of the session, MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Hussain Khan claimed that citizens of the two biggest cities of the province were being oppressed in the name of imposing the SOPs against Covid-19.

He said that people had nothing to eat in Karachi as their businesses were abruptly shut at 6pm on a daily basis, regardless of the fact that the traders of city were the highest taxpayers in the country.

He added that people in Karachi were arbitrarily arrested for the alleged violation of the lockdown regime and unduly taken to the police stations causing them serious humiliation. He also claimed that key officials of the district administration in Karachi were natives of the rural parts of Sindh, which was in violation of merit.

The party’s MPA Javed Hanif said that people of Karachi were being treated in such a harsh manner during the lockdown regime as if the city was an occupied territory.

Vaccine doses

Earlier, the House was informed that five different vaccines had been received by the province from the federal government to inoculate the people of Sindh against the spread of the coronavirus.

Responding to the call-attention notice of MQM-P lawmaker Raana Ansar, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Muhammad Qasim Soomro said that Sindh had so far received two million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine.

He said that first doses of the vaccine had been administered to over 900,000 people across the province, while around 300,000 people had been completely vaccinated against the deadly infectious disease.

He also said that the steps taken by the Sindh government against the spread of the coronavirus since the initial days of the pandemic had been appreciated at international level. He recalled that Sindh was the first province of the country to impose a lockdown against the spread of the virus, and later on the rest of the country followed suit for the protection of the health of the citizens.

Filtration plants

Responding to another call-attention notice, Public Health Engineering Minister Shabbir Ali Bijarani informed the House that tenders had been issued to install and repair reverse-osmosis water filtration plants in every district of the province. He said that there were a total of 2,000 water filtration plants in Sindh in addition to the RO plants.

He said that the tendering process for RO plants did not get mature in four districts of the province, adding that these cities were Sukkur, Ghotki, Badin and Umerkot.

Crime situation

Speaking on his call-attention notice, opposition legislator of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, Syed Abdul Rasheed, said that the crime situation in Karachi had become adverse, especially in District South of the city.

He said that the record of the Citizens-Police Liaison Committee showed that hundreds of cars and motorbikes had been stolen or snatched in the city during the last four months. He also said that some 8,000 mobile phones were snatched, 147 robberies were committed, and 62 people were killed or injured in the city during instances of targeted violence during the same period.

Responding to the call-attention notice, the energy minister informed the House that different agencies had been working to maintain law and order in the city, and that some important decisions had been taken in this regard.

He said that the Sindh government would take action if they were informed of any police official in the city not performing their duties diligently. He assured the PA that the provincial government would do more to further improve the law and order situation in the city.

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