Sindh Assembly rejects LHC’s Kalabagh Dam ruling | Pakistan Today

Sindh Assembly rejects LHC’s Kalabagh Dam ruling

The Sindh Assembly on Friday condemned the Lahore High Court’s verdict in favour of the construction of Kalabagh Dam (KBD), which the provincial lawmakers unanimously termed detrimental to the “very unity of Pakistan”.
Serious and emotional visibly, the Pakistan People’s Party’s lawmakers, however, failed to show their representational strength in the House on Thursday, where neither Leader of the House Chief Minister Sindh Qaim Ali Shah nor PPP’s Parliamentary Party Leader Pir Mazharul Haq were present as the “historic” resolution was passed. Of the total 89 PPP legislators, only 47 were present in the House when the resolution was adopted minutes before Speaker Nisar Khuhro prorogued the session. Only 23 of MQM’s lawmakers present of a total 47. Given the current heated political climate, Friday’s proceedings were marred by intermittent but full-throated verbal clashes between the PPP-led treasury and PML-F-led opposition members. The two sides thrice put the House into a pandemonium by pointing fingers at each other for their past “wrongdoings”. “Don’t go into history or we would not be able to maintain unity (against KBD),” Khuhro warned the two divides of the House.
However, the 168-member PPP-dominated House was unanimous in adopting the four resolutions tabled on Thursday by Dr Sikandar Mandhro and Imran Nazir Leghari of the PPP, Khalid Ahmed of the MQM and Jam Madad Ali Khan of the PML-F. “Ayes have it and the Kalabagh Dam stands rejected,” declared the speaker after the lawmakers rose to their feet to vote against the disputed dam.
All four resolutions passed called upon the federal and provincial governments to vehemently oppose the controversial project at all levels to bury the “dead horse” once and for all. “This assembly… expresses its feelings of aversion to the sources that disrespect the status of this august House by ignoring the importance of many unanimously passed previous resolutions against the dam,” said the draft moved by PPP’s Dr Mandhro. “This House condemns the decision of the Lahore High Court and the supporting statement by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in favour of construction of Kalabagh Dam,” the resolution tabled by Imran Legahri said. The KBD, it said, was “detrimental to the very unity of Pakistan with most dangerous repercussions for Sindh province”. The resolution that came from the MQM said: “This House resolves that any attempt to revive the proposal from any quarter shall be resisted and rejected outright by the province and the people of Sindh.”
The opposition led by the PML-Functional dubbed KBD a “dead issue”, saying: “Raising this issue by any forum at this stage is nothing but creation of disturbance amongst the masses.” The members from two divides delivered hard-hitting speeches against the dam, blasting mostly Punjab and the Sharif brothers for hatching judicial conspiracies against the already water-scarce Sindh. The chief justice of Pakistan was also asked to take suo motu notice of the LHC decree, which according to Amanullah Mehsud of ANP and other lawmakers would pit the provinces against each other. The speeches, however, were marred by the noisy blame-game intermittently taking place between the PPP and PML-F legislators. The House echoed with ear-splitting noise when lawmakers from the two sides accused the other side of having tacitly supported the anti-Sindh dam at some instance in the past. “The opposition leader (of PPP) in Punjab Assembly had supported a resolution in favour of Kalabagh dam, is not it double standard?” questioned Jam Madad Ali of the PML-F. PPP ministers Murad Ali Shah, Sharjeel Memon and Zahid Bhurgary came up with counter allegations mostly bringing the opposition lawmakers to their feet.
Others who spoke included Law Minister Ayaz Soomro, Humera Alwani, Heer Ismail Soho, Sussui Palijo, Imdad Patafi and Anwar Meher. Also, the House said yes to a PPP-backed resolution calling upon the government to declare the slain PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto “a symbol of democracy and freedom” for her glorious struggle and sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the county. The House also approved a report of the Public Accounts Committee regarding draft paras for the fiscal years 6, 7 and 8. The question hour for the day was deferred by Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza when the law minister requested members would need more time for discussion on the KBD issue.

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