By Razzak Abro
The provincial assembly members laughed and joked their way through Tuesday’s session while the people of the city continued to grapple with the deaths of over 200 citizens and others fought to keep alive in the recurring rain. Representatives of all major parties in the province did not bother themselves with the difficulties of millions of people in Karachi, Thatta, Badin and other parts of the Sindh. Although a fateha was offered for those who died in the storm, there was no talk of the widespread devastation in the province, or what could be done to help the situation. However, whether one member of parliament was sitting at his designated seat or not was thoroughly discussed instead. At least seven minutes were spent on whether the MMA’s Hafiz Naeem was speaking from his own seat or not. Many MPAs, including Chairman Iqbal Qadri worked hard to resolve the issue. Some of their conversation is as follows: Chairman: Is it your seat? Hafiz Naeem of MMA: You can check it on the map (of seats). Ahmed Ali Shah of PPPP: He is Pathan (by origin) and will not change his seat. One day’s proceedings in the assembly costs the government over one million rupees. However, it seems that the MPs spend more time scoring political points, taunting each other and making jokes, than discussing social welfare. On the second day of proceedings after the storm, many members of the treasury and Opposition were seen making jokes and laughing. When Opposition leader Nisar Ahmed Khuhro stood up to speak on a point of order, a female member of the treasury admonished him with a ‘ladies first’. Khuhro remarked that she could consider him a ‘lady’ and proceeded with what he was saying. Soon after, assembly members offered a fateha for those who died in the storm. Khuhro later complained to the chair that Provincial Irrigation Minister Nadir Akmal Leghari was laughing during his speech. Leghari retorted that he was free to laugh or cry as he pleased. Opposition member Rafiq Engineer was not to be left out of the fun. He spelt out different ways to say the number zero, namely ‘choni’ (Hindi), zero, and ‘O’.
Wednesday, June 27, 2007