KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Monday passed a resolution unanimously, demanding from the federal government to ban all illegal and unregistered Mobile SIMs throughout the country, which become cause of major crimes and terrorism.

The resolution moved by Dr Seema Zia of PTI was adopted by the House unanimously.

PTI’s MPA Dr Seema Zia while speaking on her resolution alleged that mobile companies and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) are equally responsible for all kind of crimes as they are not ready to ban illegal and unregistered 40 million SIMs.

She disclosed that the doctors and other professionals have received threats of extortion from the cellphones being used in South Africa, Afghanistan and other neighboring countries.

The mobile companies are increased like mushrooms in last 10 years, PTI member remarked. She held the PTA and cellphone companies equally responsible for crimes as no monitoring mechanism is in place to check the use of SIMs in the country.

Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon while supporting the opposition MPA’s views told the House that provincial government has repeatedly wrote to the federal government. It informed the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan for disbanding illegal and unregistered SIMs but unfortunately no headway witnessed on the matter so far.

He said in principally it had been decided that SIMs would be issued through Bio-Metric system after June 1, 2014 but fate of unregistered millions of SIMs had yet not decided.

He unveiled that a huge number of 5,000 unregistered SIMs were recovered from a terrorist of banned outfit arrested recently in Karachi. “Though, it is the domain of the federal government but Sindh government can shut down the mobile towers of cellular companies in the province if they will not put ban on the illegal SIMs,” he warned.

Meanwhile, the Sindh Assembly, after passing the resolution, took up the post-budget discussion on the current financial year’s expenditure and income.

Not only the lawmakers of PML-F, PML-N and PTI from the opposition benches, the MQM lawmakers had also criticised the slow pace as well as transparency in utilisation of development funds in the current year.

Concluding the post-budget discussion, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah rejected the allegations. He claimed that his government is heading in right direction with good performance in terms of serving the people with completing the record number of development projects.

Shah said out of Rs165 billion development outlay of provincial departments, the Sindh government had released Rs105 billion in nine months, of which Rs74 billion had been spent which was a significant performance than other three provinces where spending on development schemes was only 24 percent.   

He rejected the allegations of MQM’s parliamentary leader regarding lack of transparency in utilisation of funds. He said the three-tier monitoring mechanism of planning, finance and CM’s Inspection teams is in place to ensure transparency and quality of development spending. Qaim cited that his government has compelled a contractor to reconstruct more than seven kilometers of road which was damaged just after construction due to lack of quality.

He said the Sindh government would construct hospitals in each Tehseel of the province besides 500 Reverse Osmosis (ROs) plants would be installed in Thar to convert the brackish water into sweet drinking water.

Earlier, MQM’s parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed said this was not participatory democracy as local governments are not in place, besides the provincial finance commission lacked for equal distribution of resources from the province to districts.

Sardar also questioned the investment of Rs72 billion in management fund and it’s spending, adding lack of proper monitoring mechanism is causing irregularities in the expenditures.

PML-F’s Sheharyar Khan Mahar also raised the questions about the transparency in utilisation of funds and held the inefficiency of finance department responsible for shortfall of provincial receipts.

PML-N’s Irfanullah Marwat said the federal bureaucracy was not ready to devolve the financial powers to the provinces.

He also alleged that bureaucrats are sending their children abroad for education and are living in posh areas but no one raises questions how they managed this in their salaries.

PTI’s Samar Ali Khan alleged that 40 percent funds of the development schemes go in the pockets of the officers.

After completing the discussion, the Chair announced that Sindh Assembly has completed 100 days mandatory to meet in a parliamentary year and later prorogued the session for indefinite period.  

Earlier, the House, which came in order at 10:30am with Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza in the Chair, rejected the leave application of former chief minister and PML-N’s MPA Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, who has been absent from the House after taking oath on May 17, 2013.

When the leave application came on the floor for consideration, the MPAs from treasury benches echoed with No-No slogans. It was strange that PML-N MPAs did not voiced in support of their party’s MPA but PML-F’s MPA stood in favour of Dr Arbab Rahim.

The secretary of Assembly read out the application of Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim, which stated that he is living abroad from March 21, the day of commencing of current session.

Senior Education Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro while objecting on the leave application said PML-N MPA was here in the country and witnessed him attending the party’s programmes and making statements through press conferences so he was making false statement with the elected House which was not acceptable.

The Chair in her ruling directed MPA Dr Arbab Ghulam Rahim to send his passport in the House as members wanted to see it whether he was present in the country during moving the leave application or not. It further stated the present Assembly is completing the 100 days today but PML-N’s MPA Dr Arbab Rahim is remained absent for 99 days continuously.

Meanwhile, the shortage of the drinking water echoed in the Sindh Assembly as members from the treasury as well as opposition benches highlighted that their constituencies were also facing shortage of drinking water since long.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader in SIndh Assembly Irfanullah Mawat raised the issue, saying the potable water crisis is deepening in the City as many areas are deprived of this basic human right.

He advised the Local Government Minister to shift his office to Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to effectively monitor the water supply in the City.

Replying to the issue, Sharjeel Memon admitted that water crisis is due to lack of rains and loadshedding. He said PML-N’s Sindh MPAs should play their role to approach the Prime Minister to get pumping stations exempted from the electricity loadshedding.