Lawmakers call for setting up rehab centres for drug-dependent people

KARACHI: Lawmakers belonging to both sides of the aisle on Tuesday passed a resolution seeking the establishment of rehabilitation centres for people addicted to drugs, unanimously asking the provincial government to take care of educational institutions as well to curb the increasing use of drugs there.

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal’s sole member, Abdul Rasheed, moved a private resolution saying the rampant use of drugs in society was destroying the future of the young generation. It called upon the Sindh government to expedite its efforts to curb the menace.

“The Sindh government should provide treatment facilities on a priority basis to rehabilitate drug-dependent people in all the government-run health facilities across the province,” said the resolution.

Moving the resolution in the house, Mr Rasheed said all sorts of drugs — from hashish and opium to heroin — were being abused in the province, while the use of recreational drugs such as crystal ice were increasing alarmingly in Sindh and elsewhere in the country.

He said there were wards in the government hospitals dedicated to drug-related diseases, but little was offered in terms of treatment there.

Show concern over increasing use of drugs in educational institutions

He asked the provincial government to adopt a proactive approach to rein in the rampant incidence of drug use, adding that the authorities concerned had not prioritised that.

He said the young population in localities such as Lyari, Keamari etc was plagued with addiction to drugs, requiring serious attention from the government.

Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani did not oppose the resolution. However, he suggested that instead of demanding action for certain neighbourhoods of Karachi, the resolution should encompass the entire province.

Drug addiction in students

Pakistan Peoples Party’s Marui Rashdi said instead of hating drug-dependent people, they should be accorded due love and attention from the government and society at large.

She expressed concern that drug addiction was seriously affecting students in schools and other educational institutions and urgent action was required to save them from falling prey to it.

She proposed that a committee of lawmakers be formed to oversee the rehabilitation process of drug-dependent people.

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Rabia Azfar said she had submitted a private bill in November to amend the existing narcotics law with a similar spirit but wider understanding of the problem.

She said she had got assurance from the government that it would draft and move a new narcotics bill in which actions against modern-day challenges would be taken.

However, she said no such bill was in sight yet.

PPP’s Shamim Mumtaz said the issue of drug addiction was worsening and merited to be taken on priority.

PTI’s Seema Zia said the issue was grave, but it was not as simple to tackle as being generally considered. She demanded a detailed roadmap to curb the abuse of drugs. Rana Ansar had a similar understanding of the problem.

‘Govt lacks will to tackle drugs’

Grand Democratic Alliance’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said everyone knew who was involved in drug business and which areas were affected by it. She accused the government of showing no political will to take action against those involved.

Kulsoom Chandio said the issue of drug addiction should be tackled by everyone without politicising it.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Mohammad Hussain said there was no institution where drugs were not easily available.

He demanded that the supply of drugs should dry up before rehabilitation of addicted people was initiated.

PTI’s Imran Shah said all private schools should be bound to take random checks of their students.

“Schools should carry out mandatory random urine tests of [their] students, particularly those in senior classes, as the menace of drugs has seriously affected our schools,” said the lawmaker.

PPP’s Perveen Qaimkhani said the government’s will to provide better life to the people of Sindh also included its policies to eradicate drugs.

PTI’s Shabbir Qaimkhani demanded a ban on schools where students were found abusing drugs.

Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari put the resolution before the house, which was adopted unanimously.

Provincial Finance Commission

Earlier, the treasury benches did not oppose a private resolution tabled by PTI’s Bilal Ahmed seeking to form a Provincial Finance Commission.

“This house resolves and recommends [to] the government of Sindh to immediately form the Provincial Finance Commission, which is due since long. It also recommends holding an intra-parliamentary session to formulate the structure of the PFC,” reads the resolution.

The mover said real progress and development could not be achieved until the resources and funds were distributed at the grass-roots level.

He said a similar commission was functioning in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where funds were being distributed at the district level.

He said the provincial government should also form the PFC when it complained against delays in the National Finance Commission Award.

LG Minister Saeed Ghani said the government would not oppose the resolution, adding that the commission would be formed.

MQM-P’s Jawed Hanif said the Sindh government always assured them about the award but had never implemented it. He said Karachi was being given just seven per cent in the budget instead of more than 30pc.

Leader of the Opposition Firdous Naqvi said he hoped the provincial government would keep its promise when a minister had assured the house about the formation of the commission.

He said it should not take more than a week to formulate the commission. He said the PFC should be devised on the basis of poverty, revenue generation and rural and urban development.

He said the opposition would support the government in evolving a formula for the PFC award.

Minister Ghani challenged a claim by an opposition member, saying that he had not promised in his budget speech about the formation of the PFC. He said no such promise was made, but the government was ready to award a PFC.

The resolution was passed unanimously.

GDA’s Arif Jatoi moved a private bill to introduce The Sindh Advisors (Appointments, powers, functions, salaries, allowances and privileges) Amendment Bill, 2019.

Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani deferred the discussion on the bill for a week.

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