KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Wednesday once again witnessed chaos as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmakers protested and boycotted the proceedings against arrest of their party colleague and Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh while the Pakistan Peoples Party justified the move.

It all started when PTI’s Parliamentary Leader Khurram Sherzaman rose right after Dua as he wanted to raise the issue on a point of order but was denied by Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari.

“I will hear you but after the completion of the business,” the Deputy assured the protesting PTI member but he insisted to be given a floor. Rehana Leghari made it clear that she would not run the house on anyone’s wish.

In the meantime, other PTI members also stood and gathered in front of the Speaker’s rostrum, chanting slogans against the provincial government. The Deputy Speaker also warned Dr Seema Zia of PTI for filming the protest and said that the mobile phone was not allowed in the house.

“If you people were serious, you would have listened to me,” Rehana Leghari told to the protesting PTI members and asked them to go back to their seats.

“I have not denied you to speak. I will hear you after the question hour,” the Deputy Speaker repeatedly said.

When given floor, Khurram Sherzaman said that Haleem Adil Sheikh was arrested without permission of the Speaker. “He (Haleem Adil Sheikh) is a member of this house and has obtained bail in the cases registered against him yet he was arrested,” he added. The PTI Parliamentary Leader asked the Deputy Speaker as if the Opposition Leader was arrested with her permission.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the Opposition Leader was arrested in a criminal case and the police was not bound to take permission from the Speaker before arresting a sitting lawmaker nominated in the criminal offence.

“He (Haleem Adil Sheikh) is a land grabber and a number one thief,” Chawla said as his remarks aggravated the PTI members’ protest who tore apart agenda copies before boycotting the proceedings. Minister for Labour Saeed Ghani said that a MPA can be arrested without the Speaker’s permission, if he was nominated in the criminal case.

Sindh Social Protection Authority

Meanwhile, the Assembly unanimously passed ‘The Sindh Social Protection Authority Bill, 2022’ to establish an authority to provide what the government said comprehensive and efficient social protection to the vulnerable people.

“The State is obligated to promote social justice and economic wellbeing of and ensure social protection of vulnerable persons and families. The Province of Sindh is committed to realize the principles of policy reflected in Articles 37 and 38 of the constitution,” the statement of objects and reasons of the bill read.

It added that the provincial government was committed to the establishment of an institutionalized framework to provide sustained and coordinated social protection interventions to assist the poor and vulnerable individuals and households and social empowerment.

“In order to assist the poor and vulnerable individuals and household and to achieve economy security, human development and social empowerment, it is expedient to establish an Authority known as the Sindh Social Protection Authority and to enact a law in the matter,” the statement of objects and reasons of the bill added.

Separately, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister also introduced three government bills—‘The Sindh Prohibition of Preparation, Manufacturing, Storage, Sale and Use of Gutka and Manpuri (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, ‘The Sindh Reproductive Healthcare Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2022’ and ‘The DOW University of Health Sciences (Amendment) Bill, 2022’—. The bills were sent to concerned standing committees for further deliberations. Later, the house was adjourned to Thursday at 2pm.