The provincial assembly has also passed another bill of ‘Sindh Protection of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2013’ into law to ensure safe and adequate nutrition for infants and young children by promoting and protecting breastfeeding as well as regulating the marketing of baby milks.
At the commencement of the session with Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro in the chair at 11.20am, very thin attendance of less than a dozen members was witnessed in the House.
After prayer for the deceased souls, the law minister moved a motion, urging the chair to defer the question-hour for tomorrow on Friday, which the House allowed unanimously.
Later, Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro while tabling a motion sought permission to withdraw the earlier submitted bill of the Sindh Education City Bill 2013, which was restricted only to Karachi.
With replacement of name of the bill from Education City to ‘Establishment of Sindh Education Cities Bill 2013’, he said that the objective of new bill was to open such education cities in other parts of the province from Karachi to Kashmore in every district.
After approval of tabling the new bill, Soomro said that provincial government would provide the land to private sector to establish ‘education cities’ at one place in the districts or divisional headquarters of the province. These education cities would be established in each district from Karachi to Kashmore which aimed at opening the doors of higher education for people of Sindh at their doors.
As copies of the new and amended bill was not provided to the lawmakers, so lots of them complained that instead of bringing important legislation in hurry, government should develop consensus on house business advisory committee.
Speaking on the education city bill, MQM’s parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed said that government would provide only land while private sector will establish the educational institutions. He said that several educational institutions like Agha Khan University/Hospital, Ziauddin, Sindh Madarrasatul Islam and others from private sector got allotment of land for establishment of the institution in Malir area of the City.
PPP provincial minister Engineer Muhammad Rafiq advocate taking part in the discussion said that though the government had made provision to allot a huge area of 8,921 acres of land for ‘Education City in Karachi’ at Malir area but no representative had been included in the Education City Board.
He suggested at least two elected representatives of Sindh Assembly of local area should be nominated as member of the education city board in each education city.
MQM’s Sardar Ahmed, PPP’s Dr Sikandar Mandhro and others also supported the suggestion of inclusion of the two MPAs in each education city board which was incorporated in the bill by the House through approving the amendment unanimously.
Humera Alwani of ruling PPP said that allotment of land should be made conditional with opening of education institutions within the prescribed timeframe. If any allottee fails to implement the condition, the allotment of their land must be cancelled. She added that government allotted a huge area of 30,000 acres of land to private sector for alternative energy projects but the same were not initiated so far.
Later, the House passed ‘the Sindh Education Cities Bill 2013’ into law unanimously.
Besides, the report of standing committee on heath on government about ‘The Sindh Protection of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2013’ was considered by the House and incorporated it into law which was passed into law unanimously.
According to law, the government will establish the board comprising of health officers, Assembly members and others, which will recommend investigation against manufacturers, distributors or health workers found to be violating this Act.
The new law stated that the promotion of designated products/formula milk has been banned in the new law while no designated project shall be manufactured, sold or otherwise distributed in Sindh unless it is formulated industrially in accordance with the standards recommended by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the codex code of hygienic practice for food for infants and children.
According to law, if any manufacturer or distributor of formula milk found violating this Act, he will face punishment of imprisonment of two years or fine of Rs50,000 to Rs0.5 million.
The objective of new law of ‘The Sindh Protection of Breastfeeding and Child Nutrition Bill 2013’ is to reduce the infant mortality rate in the province as reports show that 70 out of 1,000 children who born alive die before their first birthday in Pakistan.
After unanimous passage of two bills, Marvi Rashdi of the PML-F drew attention of the House that employees of the Sindh Education Foundation worried as government intends to shelve the 1500 schools running under education project of foundation, which will result in unemployment of 8,000 teachers include disconnecting education of 2,50,000 children.
The provincial minister without portfolio and MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar while seconding the point of Marvi told the House that he talked with the chief of Sindh Education Foundation Anita Ghulam Ali, who was worried about the future of schools’ project as finance department has not released funds so far.
Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that this project was initiated by Benazir Bhutto in 1993 government so he believed that the present government will not shelve it. He also directed the law minister to look into the matter and report the Assembly.
The Speaker, after disposing of the adjournment motion of PPP’s Saleem Khurshid Khokhar which was moved for facilities of learning of religious for religious minorities’ students in schools like Muslims are availing, adjourned the session for Friday (today).