KARACHI              -        Sindh Assembly (SA) on Monday abolished up to three percent of Capital Value Tax from immoveable properties for what the treasury and opposition members said “to encourage and revive the construction sector.”

The House unanimously passed The Sindh Finance (Amendment) Bill, 2020, revoking section 04 of ‘The Sindh Finance Act, 2010’ that had authorised the provincial government to collect up to three percent tax on registration or transfer of immoveable property of 240 square yards or more.

“The government of Sindh intends not only to encourage the construction sector, but also the other sectors allied to it. With that objective in sight, the Capital Value Tax imposed on the transactions of immovable properties under The Sindh Finance Act, 2010 is to be abolished,” the bill reads.

Briefing the lawmakers about the bill, Minister for Revenue Makhdoom Mehboob Zaman said that although the provincial government was collecting around Rs seven billion annually under the Capital Value Tax, but still it had decided to abolish the tax just to facilitate the construction industry and open opportunities for investment in the province and in the country.

Opposition Leader Firdaus Shamim Naqvi, while welcoming the bill, stressed the need for enacting such laws which would stop flight of the capital from Sindh.

Khawaja Izharul Hassan of MQM-P also supported the bill, but at the same time suggested that poor people should be given loans on easy installments for building houses.

Meanwhile four bills—The Land Acquisition (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Sindh Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2019; The Sindh Explosives Bill, 2019; and The Sindh Regularization of Teachers Appointed on Contract Basis (Amendment) Bill, 2019—were also introduced and sent to the concerned standing committees.

Resolution to 

condemn harassment of female journalists passed

The Assembly also adopted a resolution with a majority of votes, condemning the ‘online harassment’ of some female journalists allegedly by the social media team of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

“This house vehemently condemns the online harassment of female journalists by social media accounts affiliated with the ruling party. These accounts are not only threatening hard working, respectable female journalists, but have also created a culture of abuse to silence them, which is completely unacceptable. This house demands a transparent and full-fledged investigation by FIA’s cyber-crime wing. A proper legal action must also be initiated against the culprits. These women journalists are in danger because they have been critical of the incumbent government’s policies. Women journalists are not only being bullied online, they now face threats of sexual and physical violence which puts their personal security at risk,” the resolution, tabled by Sharmila Farooqui of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), reads.

The resolution also demanded making the FIA report public to expose these miscreants. “These unfortunate incidents have once again exposed the federal government’s anti-media and censorship policies. It is a disturbing trend that must end immediately. This house categorically demands that the Government of Pakistan ensures the freedom of expression as guaranteed under Article 19 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan,” it added.

Speaking on the occasion, Provincial Minister Saeed Ghani said that the Sindh government was going to launch anti-encroachments operation on the directives of the Supreme Court, adding that occupants would be given alternate places before their evacuation.

Parliamentary Secretary on Local Government Saleem Baloch said 1000 MGD water was required for the port city while there was natural shortfall of 250 MGD.

Replying to a question by one of the lawmakers, he said the water crisis in the city would not be over until completion of K-IV project.

To another call attention notice by MMA member Syed Abdul Rasheed, he said that 1.25 kilometer of 2.5 km-long Shah Abdul Bhittai Road had been completed while work on the remaining portion of the road was halted for laying down water and sewerage lines.

Question Hour session

Earlier, while replying to lawmakers’ written and verbal queries during the question hour session, Sindh minister for energy informed the House that the provincial government had formulated a comprehensive policy for Thar Coalfield affectees namely, “Resettlement Police Framework (RPF) for Thar Coalfields” .

He said that each Thar coalfield lease holder was required to prepare and get approval of its own Resettlement Action Plan (RAP).

“RPF/RAP gives right of compensation to affectees for losses such as agricultural/cultivatable land, loss of residential, commercial, industrial or institutional land, loss of livelihood/occupation or business incomes, loss of public infrastructure, jobs, etc.” the minister added.

Moreover, he said, Thar Coal Block-II being the provincial government’s first successful project got RAP approval by the energy department. “As such, Phase-I Block-II resettlement is completed through which 172 families are already resettled and relocated to a modern model village “New Sehnri Dars” in Taluka Islamkot”, he added.