KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Thursday passed a resolution unanimously condemning the federal government’s reported decision to shift the headquarters of the national flag carrier from Sindh’s capital to Islamabad, asking the federal government to withdraw its order
The resolution was originally moved by Pakistan Peoples Party’s Nida Khuhro. Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s parliamentary leader Kunwar Naveed and Jawed Hanif also registered themselves as its co-movers.
However, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, the largest opposition party in the house, which rules Islamabad, opted to abstain during a detailed discussion on the resolution.
Ms Khuhro read out her resolution first in which she said the house condemned and rejected the federal government’s decision to move the Pakistan International Airlines’ headquarters from Karachi to Islamabad.
Compulsory medical treatment bill named after police shooting victim Amal Umer
“It is yet another biased action by the federal government that goes against Sindh,” said Ms Khuhro, adding that such actions would increase the sense of deprivation in the people of Sindh.
“All this shows the federal government does not want to see the provinces strengthening,” she remarked.
She said PIA’s head office had always been in Karachi and the Centre should spell out the reason that forced it to transfer it from the metropolis to the country’s capital.
“Sindh condemns it,” she said.
Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani said the PTI was against Sindh and despite “allegedly” having secured some seats from Karachi, it was taking actions against its own constituents.
He said the PTI was following the policies of the Pakistan Muslim League’s previous government, though unlike the PTI, the PML-N had no political stakes in Sindh.
He said the shifting of PIA’s headquarters would force many of its employees based in Karachi and elsewhere in Sindh to quit their jobs.
“And we believe this is the key reason behind all this.”
He said the PPP’s provincial government would resist such an action by the federal government.
MQM-P calls it injustice to city
Kunwar Naveed said the MQM-P, which is a partner in the PTI-led federal government, had serious reservations on the issue.
“Karachi has been a target of a perpetual series of injustices. The head offices of banks have been transferred [from] Karachi; and now PIA’s nerve centre is being shifted unjustifiably.” He asked the federal government to change its decision forthwith and take measures to make PIA a profitable organisation.
Jawed Hanif said such an issue was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to seeing how Karachi had endured injustices for the past many decades.
He said the owner of Orient Airlines, a resident of Karachi, had gifted his airline to the newly created country after partition.
“How can PIA’s head office be shifted from Karachi when it is a gift of a resident of this great city,” he wondered.
Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s Abdul Rasheed supported the resolution, saying: “They [federal government] would have taken away the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum if they could do so.” He said instead of shifting PIA’s head office, the airline should be improved.
PPP’s Heer Ismail Soho said the PTI government was taking “revenge” from the people of Sindh through such actions as it was not happy with the people’s decision to elect the PPP.
MQM-P’s Mohammad Hussain said enmity with Karachi was not something new as it had been a target of conspiracies continuously. He said the people of Karachi had contributed greatly to the country’s economy.
Mr Hussain said PIA had helped establish many airlines in the world. It helped Emirates Airlines and the latter wanted to launch the first flight of Airbus A-380 from Karachi, but others at the helm demanded that it be done from Lahore. “This forced the UAE airline to launch that flight from New York.”
He said political differences aside, “we all should resist such issues which involve Sindh and its capital, Karachi”.
Grand Democratic Alliance’s Shaharyar Mahar said the people from across Sindh, from Karachi predominantly, worked at the PIA’s head office and all of them would be badly affected by the shifting.
Murad on injuries bill
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said his government had introduced The Sindh Injured Persons Compulsory Medical Treatment (Amal Umer) Bill, 2019 in memory of Amal, a 10-year-old girl killed in police shooting last year.
Mr Shah told the assembly that Amal’s parents were present in the house as he spoke. He said the bill addressed the issues that prevented her parents from getting the child treated on time at a hospital and cost the child’s life.
He said the incident occurred in the dying days of the caretaker set-up in Sindh; however, after assuming office again he visited Amal’s home and made certain commitments with her parents.
“This bill is the fulfilment of one of those commitments I have made with Amal’s parents.”
He said according to the new law, receiving medical treatment with fully-equipped ambulances should be mandatory for any hospital operating in public or private sector in Sindh.
“Everything will come later, the first thing a hospital will have to do is to treat the patient in need. For this, such hospitals will have to get themselves equipped adequately.”
Govt to pay for emergency treatment
Mr Shah said no hospital should demand money from such patients as it would be the government’s responsibility to pay for the treatment of such patients. Besides, anyone who took an injured person to hospital should not be subjected to any sort of harassment.
“Every hospital will have a fully equipped ambulance and we’ll take action as defined in this law against the ones who violate the law,” he said.
He referred to another recent case in Korangi in which a couple were injured in police shooting. The CM said that he had made another commitment with Amal’s parents that no policeman would be carrying heavy weapons.
“We have replaced assault rifles with pistols among 70 per cent of the force and the remaining personnel would be replaced with light weapons soon.”
He said the bill should be examined by a select committee by the end of this week and it should be presented in the house on Monday to pass it.
Speaker Siraj Durrani formed a select committee comprising four members from the treasury and three from the opposition to examine the bill.
Earlier, members of the PTI, MQM-P and GDA walked out of the house after the chair ruled a privilege motion by PTI’s parliamentary leader Haleem Shaikh out of order.
Mr Shaikh said his privilege had been breached by certain “derogatory comments” by an official of the Sindh AIDS Control Programme. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Chawla opposed it before the chair termed it not maintainable.
The opposition members again rose in their seats, tore up copies of the order of the day, and marched out of the house.
Speaker Durrani was not pleased with certain comments from opposition members calling him “biased”. He said he was just following the assembly rules.
Later, CM Shah said every MPA was an ordinary person whose privilege was not breached with opposing remarks. However, he added, a member’s privilege was breached when someone prevented his/her working.