KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly while passing a resolution unanimously on Monday demanded the federal government to secure safe release of Professor Ajmal Khan of Peshawar University, Ali Haider Gillani, Shahbaz Taseer and other innocent people from the captivity of the banned outfit during the ongoing negotiations between the Taliban and the government.

Though, all the parliamentary parties from government and opposition benches voted in favour of the resolution but they were not on the same page in their speeches as PTI lawmakers supported the dialogue process with the Taliban.

The PPP and the MQM MPAs opposed the release of members of banned outfit without any reciprocal and termed that the federal government has surrendered the authority of the state before the militant group.

Moved by Sharmila Farooqui, the provincial legislature stated it had been stated by the Federal Interior Minister that 19 Taliban prisoners had been released till now and 13 more were being considered to be released as a ‘goodwill gesture’ to help the ongoing peace dialogue. Therefore, the federal government negotiating committee should ensure that this gesture was reciprocated by the Taliban.

She said the nation was confused with the statements of the Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan in favour of the militant group as it was not understandable whether he was a federal interior minister of Pakistan or of Taliban.

She said there was no flexibility witnessed from the Taliban side. She demanded that government should press early and safe release of the innocent people from the captivity of the militant group.

MQM’s Khalid Ahmed said talks with the Taliban were further demoralising the law enforcement agencies and armed forces who sacrificed their lives in the terror attacks of militants. He said the government had backtracked from its authority before the Taliban which was unconstitutional.

MPA Khurram Sher Zaman of PTI from opposition benches supported the resolution and said the innocent people who were in the captivity of the Taliban should be released immediately.

Appreciating the negotiation process with the Taliban, he said no blast occurred in any City for long time, for which credit goes to his party’s chairman Imran Khan who demanded for dialogue with the Taliban.

When PTI member did not take the names of Taseer, Gilani, who are under the captivity of the Taliban, PPP and MQM members echoed with a demand to take the names of the people who are under the captivity. Replying to the criticism, PTI’s parliamentary leader Samar Ali Khan said whether it was Taliban, MQM, PTI, PML-N, PPP or whoever involved in terrorism, should be condemned.

PTI member’s reply invited ire from the MQM lawmakers as female lawmaker Bilqees Mukhar said the PTI was the supporter of the Taliban so they were more apologists to them.  Without completing the agenda, the House passed a total eight resolutions on different topics.

Passing a resolution unanimously, moved by Kamran Akhtar of MQM, Sindh Assembly condemned the decision of the Ministry of Water and Power to reduce the electricity of Karachi up to 350MW which will increase loadshedding and will badly affect the commercial as well as residential sectors in Karachi.

Moved by Syed Khalid Ahmed of MQM, Sindh Assembly also adopted anther resolution unanimously, condemning the decision of the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) to increase the electricity tariff for Karachi electricity consumer up to 70 percent. The House recommended the Sindh government to approach the federal government to instruct the Nepra not to increase electricity tariff.

Information Minister Sharjeel Memon, Khawaja Izharul Hassan, Kamran Akhtar and Khalid Ahmed of MQM censured the allegations of the Federal Water and Power Minister Abid Sher Ali of PML-N against the small provinces for stealing the electricity.

The Sindh Assembly while passing three separate resolutions moved by Saniya Naz of PPP, Irum Azeem Farooque of MQM and Khurram Sher Zaman of PTI paid tribute to Pakistan Children Football Team, who played well and gave tremendous performance in the tournament of the Street Child Football World Cup by securing third position in the world. The lawmakers demanded the Sindh government to give warm welcome to the Pakistani football team, mostly hailed from the Lyari area of Karachi, and compensate them with the reward in recognition of their brilliant performance.

The House also passed anther resolution to commemorate the International Health Day on April 7 and demanded the provincial government to take special measures to eradicate dengue and polio. Another resolution was also passed which was moved by Dilawar Qureshi of MQM, demanding the federal government not to close the sales office of the PIA at Hyderabad.

Through his call attention notice, MQM’s Kamran Akhtar drew the attention of the government towards Iranian petrol and diesel being smuggled and sold throughout the City, causing billions of rupees loss to the national exchequer as selling of petrol and diesel in open places is like live bombs. Provincial Minister Dr Mandhro said the issue was related to the federal government so the Sindh government could not do in this regard.

Replying to a call attention notice of Khawaja Izhar, Sindh Education Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro told the House that a total of 13 colleges were constructed and functionalised in Karachi during 2008-09. Presently 8 new colleges are under construction in the City. He said there were currently 48 under-construction colleges in the province, 10 in Karachi and 38 in other districts.

Replying to call attention notice of PTI’s Dr Seema Zia about the Jinnah Hospital Karachi’s financial problems, parliamentary secretary for health department Dr Sikandar Shoro told the House that despite the 18th amendment, a lobby got a stay order from the Sindh High Court against the Sindh government not to interfere in the affairs of the JPMC. He said despite the stay order, the Sindh government was providing financial grant of Rs400 million. He told that the JPMC required a total of Rs900 million so the government will enhance the grant till one billion rupees in the upcoming fiscal year.

Earlier, Shamim Mumtaz Wasi of PPP condemned the JUI-F leaders and opposition leader in Balochistan Assembly for their demand to dissolution of Sindh Assembly over its resolution against the recommendations of the Council of Islamic Ideology. The session was adjourned by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to meet again on Tuesday (today).