KARACHI - Excessive increase in the prices of life-saving and other drugs echoed in the Sindh Assembly on Friday.

Expressing grave concern over and condemning the exorbitant increase ranging between 80 to 100 percent in the prices of life saving and others drugs, Sindh Minister for Health Dr Saghir Ahmed termed the issue a challenge to the provincial autonomy.

He said that some bureaucrats had bypassed the elected assemblies and increased the prices of medicines arbitrarily for their personal gains. He said the public was already groaning under tremendous financial pressure because of increases in prices of essential commodities, energy and petroleum products.

He added the extraordinary increase in the prices of pharmaceutical products would further add to their miseries.

He said that the elected representatives would find it very difficult to convince their constituents when they go back to them in the upcoming elections.

Speaker Nisar Khuhro who was chairing the session advised the minister and the members that if they desire to bring the issue in the house, they should move a resolution on the subject. PPP lawmaker from Sukkur Syed Javed Hussain Shah moved a privilege motion which was referred to the Special House Committee. The privilege motion was about police raid conducted on his farm in Sukkur district.

He said the raid was uncalled for and added that the police by entering his farms without knowledge and his permission had breached his privilege.

The privilege motion reads, "On 3rd Feb 2012 at am, I (Javed) received a call from my manager informing me that police had raided on my farm house in tehsil Saleh Pat, district Sukkur.  The raid was conducted while I was in Karachi. It was carried out without any credible reason. For over 12 hours, police took over my farm, raided and searched the farmers' houses and detained my manager. On learning of raid, I began frantically calling SSP Sukkur Saqib Ismail Memon, and DIG Dr Ameer Shaikh. They neither answered my phone calls nor called back. After trying to get through to the police officers for three hours, I finally spoke with SSP Sukkur at 11; 30 am, and he informed me that the operation was being conducted by Ghotki police, while Sukkur police were only supporting them in the search operation."

He said that in their extensive search operation which lasted over 12 hours, the police found nothing illegal on his farm and the vicinity.  In fact, their coming on the land, raiding my farm house, and detaining his employees for so many hours had caused him severe distress and breached his privilege as a member of the house, he claimed.

"I hail from a respectable family and have never been involved in any questionable activities. In fact, as a public representative being a long standing member of Pakistan people's Party and serving as member of the assembly's house committee, excise and taxation committee and privilege committee and as chairman of the district development committee of Sukkur, my conduct and reputation have remained above reproach. However, this deliberate attempt to malign my reputation has breached my privilege, and is a blatant attempt to damage my credibility," he said.

"Moreover, as chairman of the district development committee, my role and responsibilities are severely hampered in the aftermath of such an unjustifiable raid. After the concerned authorities failed to address my plight, I as a member of this house, have brought my plea to this forum. In addition, the harassment on my employees and farmers on the lands have had an adverse psychological impact on me adding to the detrimental affect on my performance of duties," he added.

After the debate of admissibility, the motion was referred to a Special House Committee comprising nine members to review the matter and submit reports in the house.