KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday passed the Sindh Emergency Procurement Bill, 2014 on a temporary basis for the period of one year, allowing law enforcers to bypass normal authorities in emergency situations.
Lawmakers gave the nod to the bill amid concerns shown by some of the members about the possible lack of transparency, and chances of corruption in the procurement process.
The Sindh Emergency Procurement Bill, 2014 was not on the order of the day; however, during the proceedings Sindh minister for parliamentary affairs Dr Sikandar Mandhro moved supplementary agenda and sought permission from the chair to table the Sindh Emergency Procurement Bill, 2014 for urgent introduction and consideration.
MPA Muhammad Shaharyar Khan Mahar of PML-F said in the Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (SPPRA) rules there is a provision of emergency procurement and the treasury bench instead of introducing the Sindh Emergency Procurement Bill, 2014 should get emergency procurement through the relevant provisions of the SPPRA rules. He feared bypassing the SPPRA rules would introduce new precedent of government buying without lack of necessary checks and oversights to maintain transparency.
PML-N parliamentary leader Irfanullah Khan Marwat supported the bill; however, he also said that transparency should be maintained in procumbent for police and law enforcing agencies. He cited the example of former inspector general police of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, who is now in jail due to heavy procurement for police of that province without transparency.
Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) lawmakers supported the spirit of the bill, but they also demanded some means of ensuring transparency in emergency procurement for police and other law enforcing agencies. It was also suggested to form a committee of MPAs to ensure transparency and fair deal in this regard. However, the treasury benches insisted to consider the bill at once due to deteriorating law and order situation of the province.
Dr Sikandar said that the routine process of procurement may takes months and the deteriorating law and order situation needs catering the needs of police and other law enforcers immediately. He said the bill if specified by only one year, so as to make rapid improvement in the law and order. He insisted that the bill be presented for vote at once. The speaker allowed the consideration of the bill and the assembly passed it into law on the basis of majority.
The treasury benches also managed to easily pass another bill, Sindh Building Control (Amendment) Bill, 2014, tabled by Dr Sikander Mandhro, despite insistence of MQM, PML-F and PML-N to give lawmakers more time to read the bill and debate it fully. The leader of the opposition, Faisal Ali Sabzwari, said it seemed that the Sindh government was bent to destroy the spirit of the 18th amendment and devolution of power to lower tiers, as it wanted to keep the powers of local government in its own hand. He demanded holding early elections of local bodies institutions, saying it is the constitutional requirement and it would also ensure better governance in Sindh province.
A privilege motion given notice of by Khawaja Izharul Hassan and Abdul Haseeb was on the agenda of the day, but it was deferred till Monday.
For the first time in the history of Sindh Assembly the call-attention notices (CANs) were tabled. The house took up three CANs, while two others were not discussed as their movers were absent. MQMs Heer Soho in her call attention wanted to know about the development of Gorakh Hill Project. She said the project has been pending since long, which can otherwise be a great source of revenue for Sindh province.
Answering to the CAN, provincial minister Mahtab Hussain Dahar said that the government is taking efforts to complete the project. He said that development work has been carried out at the site. He said the facilities of water, electricity and rest house are there, but the condition of road was poor which would be improved soon. Nusrat Bano Seher Abbasi of PML-F in her CAN wanted to know what achievements of the ongoing targeted operation in Karachi were. Dr Sikandar Mandhro, answered the CAN and said that in the Karachi operation, which started on 25 Sept, 2013, as many as 10254 raids have been conducted, 804 encounters held, 131 criminals have been killed, 15671 people/criminals have been arrested, 8222 have been challaned in the court, 141 have been convicted, 69 were acquitted, 3212 are on bails and 2728 are under investigation.
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