KARACHI - The ruling Pakistan People Party once again used its numeric power in the provincial assembly to pass a controversial bill pertaining to handing over powers of the 24 public sector universities to the chief minister despite protest and walk out from the opposition parties who termed the bill a bid to destroy education system.

The discussion and consideration of the bill titled Sindh Universities and Institutes Amendment Bill 2018 which was deferred from last proceedings continued on Friday and the bill was later approved from the house with a majority vote as the opposition parties tore the copies of the bill and staged protest and walkout from the proceedings.

The bill was earlier passed on March 9 of this year with a majority vote from the assembly but was later sent back by the Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair Umar to the house for reconsideration, using his one-time power to reject the bill.

The house took the bill yesterday along with three other universities bills including Sohail University, University Of Modern Sciences, Tando Muhammad Khan and Government College University Hyderabad which were sent back by the governor for reconsideration but its consideration was later postponed over the opposition request to defer the matter for a day.    

Terming the bill an attempt to destroy education system in the province, the opposition leader in Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izhar said that dictatorial amendments were made in the universities bill.

“We are against giving excessive powers to chief minster over universities’ affairs and would have opposed the bill even if there was a chief minister from our party,” he said.

He asked the need of intervention from the provincial government in the universities’ admission policy and said that the bill passed by a democratic government was based o undemocratic rules.

“We are not supporting the governor Sindh instead the points raised by us before were the same that were raised b the governor Sindh in his objections,” he said.

Further stressing the need for giving the students of Karachi admission in the universities of the city, the opposition leader said that their party would not tolerate any changes in admission policies. “Why the government will formulate the admission policy of the institutes like IBA,” he asked.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah who gave a speech on the stance of the government over bill yesterday said on Friday that the board which will oversee the affairs of the universities will also include members of opposition and it is wrongly interpreted that only government will oversee the affairs.

“The opposition should read the act carefully and the bill is only aimed at transferring the control from the single hand of governor Sindh to elected assembly,” he said adding that the universities were earlier hostage in the hands of the governor.  

Responding to criticism from opposition over the bill, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Khuhro said that on one hand the opposition is calling it a dictatorial bill over transferring powers to the chief minister but on the other why it wants that the role of vice chancellor be remained unchallenged in universities affairs.

MQM-P lawmaker Faisal Sabzwari said that they are not against giving powers to the chief minister or keeping a check on the affairs of the universities instead they are against giving sole powers to the chief minister in universities affairs.

“Karachi University is my institution and I will agree over checks to avoid any defame attributed to my institute but such bulk of powers under this amendment will only destroy the education system in the province,” he said.

The house also passed a bill Sindh Regularization of Veterinary Doctors Appointed on Contract Basis Bill, 2018 And West Pakistan Highways (Sindh Amendment) Bill.

The house was later adjourned for April 16 (Monday).