KARACHI – The Sindh Assembly’s Standing Committee on Privileges and Procedures on Tuesday ordered the assembly secretariat to summon Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan through advertisement in newspapers in committee’s next meeting on June 14.

PML-N MNA Ch Nisar Ali Khan has not attended standing committee’s meetings despite repeated notices. However, Sindh law minister on Tuesday claimed that opposition leader in the National Assembly had been declared a proclaimed offender and might face legal punishment of six months for not appearing before the committee.

The Sindh Assembly’s standing committee, which met with its chairman MPA Mujadid Isran in the chair, in its fifth meeting discussed the privilege motion of PPP MPAs Imran Zafar Leghari and Saleem Khurshid Khokhar, who alleged that Nisar in his press conference on March 13, 2011 had used derogatory remarks against members of the Sindh Assembly apart from criticising the Sindhi culture.

The assembly committee arranged the CD of press conference held by Ch Nisar which was shown to the committee members as well as media persons, who were allowed to sit in the meeting.

After playing the CD of Nisar’s press conference, the committee directed the assembly staff to go on the gate of the committee room and call name of Ch Nisar loudly. On the direction of the committee, the assembly staff called the Nisar’s name for three times loudly to appear before the committee. Later, chairman of the committee invited the movers of the privilege motion to present their views.

MPA Imran Zafar Leghari said Ch Nisar in his press conference had targeted the Sindh Assembly as institution, which passed the first resolution in favour of creation of Pakistan. Opposition leader also used derogatory remarks against the Sindh Assembly members, besides criticising the Sindhi Ajrak and Topi, a culture of the people of Sindh province, said the PPP MPA. He said the opposition leader had no respect for the democratic and constitutional institutions.

“If Ch Nisar has respect for the parliament and democratic institutions, he should appear before the Sindh Assembly’s standing committee,” he said and urged the committee to announce the verdict on his privilege motion. Another mover of privilege motion PPP MPA Saleem Khurshid Khokhar said parliament and assemblies were supreme bodies in the country and provinces, but opposition leader had no respect for these democratic institutions.

Provincial Law Minister Muhammad Ayaz Soomro, who attended the meeting as ex-officio member of the body, said the standing committee had powers of courts, so it fulfilled all requirements of the justice.

He said Prime Minister Gilani appeared before the Supreme Court thrice, on the contrary. He said opposition leader had not courage to appear before the elected body and advised the chairman to give Nisar a last chance to appear before the body.

He said rules of the Sindh Assembly provided powers to award six-month punishment, besides imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 or both, to any accused.

He said Nisar had to appear before the committee and seek apology from Sindhi people.

After hearing the views of the members, the chairman of the committee, MPA Mujadid Isran, said elected body took up the privilege motion in its meetings for the fifth time but accused did not appear before the committee.

“Notices will be issued again through Speaker National Assembly to the opposition leader, besides notices will be published in newspapers to ensure his presence in the next meeting of the privilege committee on June 14.

He said it would be the last chance for Ch Nisar, otherwise, the committee would take decision in his absence.

Meanwhile, for not attending the meetings to defend his privilege motion, the committee dropped the motion of PPP MPA Nawab Taimour Talpur against former principal secretary of CM Sohail Akbar Shah.

Considering another privilege motion of Senior Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haq against Ms Marvi Rashdi of PML-F, the committee postponed the discussion on it as the PML-F lawmaker did not attend the meeting. The mover of the privilege motion, Pir Mazhar who attended the meeting said he had all proofs against Marvi who levelled baseless allegations. She should attend the meeting and submit proof, he said. The committee deferred the matter till next meeting.

Another privilege motion of PPP MPAs Nasrullah Baloch and Javed Shah Jillani against two sub-inspectors of the Rangers was also deferred. The committee decided to write to the DG Rangers instructing him to make sure presence of the accused in next meeting of the committee on June 14.