Karachi - Sindh Minister for Transport Syed Nasir Hussain Shah said on Wednesday that the provincial government had no intention to ban taxi companies’ operations in the city, but, at the same time, added that they should also follow the rules and regulations of the provincial government.

He further said that the provincial government was mulling over constituting rent a car authority in the province and progress on this front was expected soon.

He was responding to a call attention notice from MQM lawmaker Jamal Ahmed during the Sindh Assembly’s session, chaired by Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza.  Jamal’s hunch was that these taxi companies not only provided transport to people at cheaper rates, but drivers of these taxis were also educated and licence holders.

He further said that fares charged by the drivers were far below than those of rickshaws.

The MQM lawmaker regretted that the transport department was targeting these companies in the name of fitness, but had done nothing to improve the condition of the present transport system that was using vehicles dating back to 60’s.

Responding to the query, the transport minister said that the use of non-commercial vehicles as commercial was illegal and the government had the authority to take action against such companies under the Motor Vehicle Act of 1965.

“The commercial vehicles are also bound to pay 10 percent tax to the Excise Department,” he added.

Shah said that the government was well aware of the problems being faced by commuters in Karachi and did not want to ban any of these services, but the companies providing these services were also bound to comply with the rules and regulations.

“We have reminded these companies to comply with the rules and regulations and stopped short of taking any further action against them due to the relief their services bring to the people,” he said.

Responding to another call attention notice from MQM lawmaker Syed Nadeem Razi regarding open sale of liquor in Muslim majority areas, Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said that any liquor shop was issued a permit only after the fulfillment of all legal requirements.

“The dispute surrounding the wine shop in Malir 15 has been settled and it has been closed after public complaints,” he informed. The assembly also witnessed exchange of heated arguments when MQM lawmaker Zafar Kamali pointed out that 52 employees of Education Board Mirpurkhas had been terminated because they were Mohajirs. “Several illegal appointments were made by the former education minister Pir Mazharul Haq in the education board, but neither any action was taken against him nor the appointments, he had made, were reversed. “On the other hand, 52 employees have been sacked just on the basis of their ethnic background,” he alleged.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Khuhro said that the government did not discriminate against people on the basis of ethnicity, and the lawmakers should avoid spreading hatred.

The audit reports of Auditor General Of Pakistan on the accounts of defunct district governments of Sindh for 2010-11, Public Sector Enterprises Of Government Of Sindh For 2015-16, and Special Audit Report on the accounts of project ‘Access To Justice Programme Sindh’ for 2002-03 to 2008-09 were also presented in the House and were sent to the Public Accounts Committee to be reviewed within a year.

The House also adopted a resolution tabled by the parliamentary affairs minister to ask the standing committee to return the Provincial Motor Vehicle Amendment Bill 2015. He said that bill was sent to the standing committee on 23 November 2016, and it should be discussed in the House.

The session was later adjourned for Thursday.

 

 

Abdullah Zafar