KARACHI - A strong criticism and resistance from the Sindh opposition benches against the proposed amendments in the law to make local MNA as chairman of the ‘Gorakh Hill Development Authority’ compelled the provincial government to defer the bill consideration into law on Friday.

The parliamentary leaders of the opposition parties-MQM, PML-N and PML-F, while raising their reservations, termed the proposal to make the Member National Assembly as head of Gorakh Authority in Dadu is a violation of the provincial autonomy, suggesting the government to make Provincial Minister for Tourism Department as chief of the authority.

The Sindh Assembly, which commenced at 11.25 hours against schedule time of 10 hours with Acting Speaker Shehla Raza in the chair, took up the question-hour pertaining to the Wildlife Department.

Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sikander Mandhro moved the Gorakh Hills Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2013 for consideration. The minister while stating the objectives said that the bill carries minor amendments as the provincial government wanted to make the MNA elected from the area as chairman of Garakh Development Authority.

He said that amendment in the law aimed at bringing the Garakh Development Authority administratively accountable under the chairmanship of the concerned MNA who will be incharge and monitoring authority to implement the uplift schemes of this tourism authority. PML-N’s parliamentary leader Irfanullah Marwat from opposition benches, while opposing the amendment, termed it against the sprit of the provincial autonomy devolved under the 18th Amendment. He opined the amendment proposed by the ruling PPP as strange move and strongly suggested for giving command of Gorakh Hill Development Authority to the provincial minister for the Tourism Department. He opined that the proposal to make the MNA as chairman of the development authority is deviation from the provincial autonomy.

Meanwhile, MQM parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed and PML-F’s Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh also endorsed the views of PML-N’s Irfanullah Marwat, suggesting the government to make any MPA or the provincial minister for Tourism Department as head of the development authority; otherwise they would oppose the bill.  Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon while replying to the criticism of the opposition said that even a member is sitting on the opposition benches is special assistant of the prime minister, which is also against the provincial autonomy. However, Imtiaz Ahmed Shaikh of PML-F while replying to the objections of the information minister said there is no any legal hitch in his appointment as special assistant to the PM. Feeling mood of the opposition, Senior Minister for Education Nisar Ahmed Khuhro urged the chair to defer the consideration of the Garakh Hill Development Authority Bill till Monday. Later, the law minister moved motion and got approval of the house to defer the consideration till Monday. Earlier, the government benches faced embarrassment when the ruling PPP’s MPA Peso Mal, elected on reserved seats for minorities, on point of order came down hard against the Provincial Minister for Minorities’ Development Department, saying that Diwali is approaching within few days but the department has not chalked out any programme for the welfare of Hindu community. He accused the Minority Affairs Minister of approving a sum of Rs2.5 million for the Hindu Panchaiat for the Diwali function. He claimed the Hindu Panchiat is an illegal body for which the provincial minister announced huge sum to appease them, but has not given financial assistance to the poor Hindus on festival of Diwali.

Despite the difference of the opinion during legislation on Garakh Hill Authority, the ruling and opposition benches witnessed united on demand to get powers of issuing permits to foreigners for hunting of Siberian birds in the province.

During the question hour, parliamentary secretary for Wildlife Department Syed Nasir Shah told the house that currently the federal foreign ministry has the authority to issue permit to foreigners.

Replying to a question asked by Nusart Sehar Abbasi of the PML-F, the parliamentary secretary said that almost 12 permits were given to the ruling families of Arab countries of UAE, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and others in each year from 2009-10 to 2012-13.

The opposition MPAs Mrs. Nusrat Sehar Abbasi, Mahtab Akbar Rashdi of PML-F and Masroor Jatoi of PML-N in their supplementary questions asked that why powers of issuing hunting permits still kept by the federal government and what efforts have been taken by the provincial government.

Minister Incharge answering the queries said that both the opposition parties are part of the federal government, so they should use their influence to get the powers of issuing hunting permits to foreigners from the centre to province.

Both the opposition and ruling benches were unanimous that the federal government must devolve this power to the provincial government as it is the prerogative of the province to issue hunting permit to foreigners.

Earlier, MQM MPAs from Hyderabad Zubair Ahmed, Sabir Qaimkhani and others speaking on point of order said that development schemes of Cardiac and Kidney Hospitals were being shifted from Latifabad to other areas. However, Shajreel Memon said that the governments in the past didn’t initiate any development scheme in the PPP’s constituencies, but the present government does not believe in discrimination and difference in development.

Later, the chair adjourned the session till Monday.