Opposition walks out of Senate over CPEC Authority, Sindh Islands

By: News Desk      Published: 06:00 PM, 23 Oct, 2020
Opposition walks out of Senate over CPEC Authority, Sindh Islands
File photo.

The opposition members on Friday staged a walkout from the Senate over not tabling the two controversial ordinances related to the CPEC Authority and the islands off the coast of Sindh, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Speaking in the House, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani said the Pakistan Islands Development Authority (PIDA) Ordinance must be presented before the Senate on Monday.

Rabbani, who raised a call attention notice over the CPEC Authority Ordinance, said the government wasn’t serious and described the developments on the issue as unconstitutional.

Later, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani in his ruling said that the two ordinances must be tabled before the House on Monday. 

It is worth noting that the CPEC Authority Ordinance, 2019 had lapsed after the expiry of its four-month period. Since then the Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa-led setup is working without any legal cover.

However, the government has now promulgated a new ordinance but did not table the document before the Upper House just the one about the Sindh islands, which triggered this protest.

Meanwhile, the opposition senators also expressed their anger over the abduction of Sindh IGP Mushtaq Mahar in Karachi – a controversy raging on with no sign of any solution.

Talking to reporters, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman described the PIDA Ordinance unconstitutional and called for its withdrawal.

About the kidnapping of Sindh police chief, she said it was an attack on the entire force, adding that the issue had long-term consequences.

Earlier in the day, the Sindh High Court issued to notices to the relevant parties for presenting their arguments with Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan admitting that the islands belonged to the province.

On the other hand, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said an area of 12 nautical miles from the coast was owned by the province, adding that everyone should stand by the Constitution, as they were not asking anyone to stand by the PPP.

Murad, who was addressing a ceremony in Sukkur, said the ordinance was a public property but had been kept secret for a month.

He said they wanted the federal government to withdraw the ordinance, adding that the provincial assembly had recently passed a resolution against the unconstitutional move.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Sindh Assembly unanimously passed a resolution, calling upon the federal government to immediately withdraw its presidential ordinance to establish PIDA as it is aimed at unlawful annexation of two islands off Karachi’s coast that are an integral part of Sindh.

The latest controversy erupted as the federal government without any consultations suddenly opted to PIDA by promulgating an ordinance with the stated aim of developing modern cities on Bundal and Buddo (also known as Bhundaar and Dingi) islands.

As soon as the ordinance came to limelight a month after it was secretly promulgated, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari had warned that they would use every forum to nullify the unconstitutional move.

The issue also echoed at the recently-held opposition rally in Karachi where JUI-F chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman made it clear that the islands off the coasts of Sindh and Balochistan belonged to the provinces.

He called for greater provincial autonomy and vowed that there would not be any compromise on the issue.