KARACHI  -    The joint opposition in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday accused the ruling PPP of unnecessarily prolonging the assembly session ‘merely’ to hinder National Accountability Bureau (NAB) probe against Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who has been attending the proceedings on production order.

Members of the joint opposition including PTI, MQM-P and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) lawmakers were talking to the media in front of the Sindh Assembly following boycott of proceedings against the Sindh government for not allotting chairmenship of the Public Accounts Committee and other standing committees of their choice here on Wednesday.

“Every sitting of the assembly costs around Rs5 million to the public exchequer but it seems this session is unnecessarily being prolonged to give relief to the speaker who is in NAB custody and is brought to the assembly on production orders,” claimed PTI Lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman.

Earlier, the opposition parties continued their boycott of the provincial assembly proceedings for the second consecutive day.

The joint opposition, comprising MQM-P, PTI and the GDA, had announced on Tuesday to boycott the assembly proceedings for two days in protest against the PPP government for not allotting them chairmanship of PAC and standing committees.

Both the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), although are part of the opposition, they did not support the joint opposition in the boycott.

Leader of the Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi while addressing media yesterday had termed the standing committees and the PAC are more important than the provincial assembly proceedings as they are the basic tool to check performance of the government and its departments.

“It is our duty to carry out accountability through PAC in which audit reports of the government are produced,” he pointed out, questioning as to how the government can be held accountable before the treasury lawmakers.

The opposition leader informed that initially, the joint opposition would continue boycott of the next two sittings of the provincial assembly and later the protest would continue in the house in different forms. Shamim Naqvi claimed that at some time they would stage protest in front of the speaker’s dice, wore black armbands, raise placards or paste tapes on their mouths to record their protest.

The PTI stalwart asserted that the opposition protest aim at unveiling corruption and wrongdoings of the rulers and raising voice against the rulers in the best possible way they could.

“Our protest will continue until our demands are met and no member of the opposition will become part of the standing committees even if approved by the treasury benches,” he declared.

Former opposition leader and MQM-P lawmaker Khwaja Izharul Hassan said that the opposition is united in conveying that during the 70 to 80 sitting of the house, the government did nothing to serve the masses.

“I am challenging that opposition will withdraw from its demands for standing committees if proved that 15 out of 150 issues raised during call attention notices are resolved during eight months of this assembly,” he offered and further claimed that the assembly proceedings are not only costing Rs5 million a day to the exchequer but also wasting time of lawmakers and media men.

He said that the government should run the assembly as per the rules of business or otherwise should not make it a tool to fulfil its agenda.   

ASSEMBLY PROCEEDINGS

On Wednesday, the Sindh Assembly proceedings faced an over three-hour long delay due to the presence of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the assembly premises.

Although, the party chief did not attend the assembly proceedings, he met the speaker and party lawmakers and addressed the media at assembly’s committee room.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari began the proceedings of the house and the sitting was winded up in two hours due to absence of opposition lawmakers.

The house also passed two resolutions with a majority of vote including a tribute to the Sindh freedom fighter Hosh Mohammad Sheedi, alias Hoshu Sheedi on his 176th death anniversary. 

Another resolution from MMA lawmaker was passed by the house condemning, hike in POL and gas prices by the federal government.

The house was later adjourned by Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani till March 21 (Thursday).