PA passes bill to curb land grab across Sindh
By Habib Khan Ghori
KARACHI: The provincial assembly on Monday unanimously passed into law the Sindh Public Property (removal of encroachment) Bill, 2010.
Before the bill was taken up for clause by clause reading, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah highlighted its importance saying that the bill provided measures for removal of encroachment from public property and to retrieve possession from encroachers and trespassers and for matters ancillary thereto. He said the bill envisaged setting up of a special force under the board of revenue empowered to eject encroachers from government land.
He said there was a general perception that a lot of government land was encroached upon by mafias controlled by influential people, who were doing business. He said although revenue and other laws were there to get the encroached public land restored to the government, in the absence of a special anti-encroachment force the laws remained ineffective.
It was after the issuance of an ordinance that the government recovered thousands of acres within two months from encroachers, he recalled, adding that the bill would benefit the people of Sindh.
Earlier when the bill was moved by Law Minister Ayaz Soomro for immediate consideration, Munawwar Ali Abbasi was the first to speak. He said that such laws were passed in the past also, but were never implemented due to lack of will. He said action against the corrupt officials who connived with encroachers was a must to do away with this menace.
Syeda Shehla Raza said that the new law was the need of the hour as the members of encroachment mafias operating in Karachi were being killed in land disputes.
Shazia Marri, Dr Ahmad Ali Shah, Shamim Ara, Bachal Shah and Ferheen Moghal also supported the bill.
When a motion for the introduction of the Sindh Local Government (Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2010, was moved, Arif Mustafa Jatoi of the National People’s Party opposed it on technical grounds. Mr Jatoi said that the bill should not be introduced because it was not provided to the members. He also cited an article of the constitution in this regard. After a brief discussion over the point, the law minister acting on a suggestion of Syed Sardar Ahmad of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement deferred its introduction till Tuesday.
Begum Bilqees Mukhtar, on a point of order, raised the issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was sentenced by a US court for 86 years. Terming it an act of barbarism and extreme oppression, she said that every child of the nation and the entire house was in protest over her conviction.
She expressed solidarity with the mother of Dr Aafia Siddiqui and said it was hoped that the government would play its due role to bring her back.
The privilege motion could not be taken up as its mover Dr Nasrullah was not present in the house. The speaker announced that the governor had given assent to the Sindh Finance Bill, 2010, The Sindh Wholesale Agricultural Produce Markets (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2010, The industrial Relations (Revival and amendment ) Bill 2010 and The Land Acquisition (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2009.
The chair, which called the house in order at 11.55am, adjourned the session at 3.45pm to meet on Tuesday at 9.30am after three speakers expressed their views on the floods situation. However, Arif Mustafa Jatoi, who also wanted to move an adjournment motion regarding the massive devastation caused by the floods, did not insist following an assurance by the chair that he would have an opportunity to move it on Tuesday.