KARACHI  -   The Sindh Assembly Friday passed a unanimous resolution calling for payments to media houses from federal and provincial governments and immediate release of salaries to media workers.

The resolution was tabled by PPP lawmaker Burhan Chandio and was supported by all parliamentary parties in the assembly.

MQM-P lawmaker Muhammad Hussain while expressing his concern over non-issuance of salaries to media workers called for forming a parliamentary committee to look into the matter.

GDA lawmaker Nusrat Sehar Abbasi while supporting the resolution said that unemployment in media is a growing issue and should be addressed properly.

The speaker Agha Siraj Durrani also called for resolving media issues and said that the reporters and other on-ground media men perform their duties in difficult times and it was unfortunate that they were not paid.

“Not only their dues be cleared immediately but they should also be insured,” he said. 

Assuring the members of resolving the ongoing issue of payments to media house, the chief minister said that they were waiting for a third party audit for advertisements amount and would soon release the amount.

“Bilawal Bhutto has also directed me to resolve this issue at earliest,” he said and added that media and democracy are two faces of same coin and when no one could dare speak against the dictatorial regime it was Karachi Press Club that initiated struggle against their rule.

He said that they would also link release of media houses’ payments with timely release of salaries to the employees.

Opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi also seconded the chief minister and said they would also approach the federal government to release payments of media houses and link it with the salaries of the employees.

“Those receiving fewer than Rs 50,000 should be paid on immediate basis,” he demanded.

The house also took up an adjournment motion from PPPP lawmaker Zulfiqar Ali Shah over low gas pressure of gas in Mirpurkhas by Sui Southern Gas Company.

Giving his government’s policy statement over the issue, the chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the ongoing gas crisis has created problems for the masses in the province and even the household consumers were facing shortage.

“This is all being done despite the constitution bounding federal government to give due share of gas to the province,” he said.

Recounting his efforts for proper gas supply to the province, the chief minister said that he had written letter to the prime minister and also approached MD SSGC but the latter informed that the federal government has halted gas supply despite production of 2900 mmcfd gas supply from province. “Sindh only utilizes 1500 mmcfd,” he informed.

Shah said that he had written to prime minister twice over the issue but in vain. “We are not demanding any favours from the federal government instead it is our right guarded in the constitution,” he said.

He also blamed the federal government for halting federal funds of the province and said that when the federal income has increased then why provincial funds are being cut down.

“This is creating problems for uplift projects in the province,” he said and added that they were facing such shortage of funds from federal government for first time.

Opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi said that it was an important issue for the province but it should not be politicized. “If you only want to criticize federal government for it then go on but if this continues someone will also raise the issue of money laundering and other issues,” he said.

He also suggested that federal petroleum minister should be asked to brief the provincial assembly as to why the province is not receiving proper gas pressure.

Minister for Energy Imtiaz Shaikh responding to his speech said that it seems that the opposition leader has distanced himself from federal government. He said that the government is not serious in resolving gas issues faced by the province.

“The Ogra has also failed to fulfill its responsibilities,” said the minister who added that if the government could not run the affairs properly then it should hire some specialists for running affairs.

He said that the common man is suffering from the inabilities of the incumbent government due to gas, water and electricity shutdowns.

When the minister questioned silence of GDA lawmakers over the issue, the GDA lawmaker Arif Mustafa Jatoi said that they were ready to support PPPP but it should first stage protest on this issue at the Parliament forums.

The speaker also took up an adjournment motion from the Muttahida Majlis –e-Amal lawmaker Syed Abdul Rasheed regarding misuse of court order on demolition in the city and thus devastating the city.

The motion was however adjourned for another sitting after initial debate. The house was later adjourned for Monday afternoon by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani.