Thursday Mar 18 2021

Order to suspend Faryal Talpur over rising dog-bite cases 'worrying': Sherry Rehman

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman. Photo: File.
  • Sherry Rehman says suspension of Faryal Talpur from provincial assembly over dog-bite cases "worrisome."
  • Says sanctity of Parliament should be respected; no MPA wants untoward incidents in their constituencies.
  • Asks court to review the decision.

KARACHI: PPP Senator Sherry Rehman on Thursday said that the order to suspend Faryal Talpur from the Provincial Assembly over the rising number of dog-bite cases is "worrying."

Earlier today, Sindh High Court’s (SHC) Sukkur Bench suspended the membership of PPP lawmakers Faryal Talpur and Malik Asad Sikander from the provincial assembly over the increasing dog-bite cases within their constituencies.

In response to the move, Sherry Rehman questioned whether such an action would have been taken [by the court] had dog bite incidents taken place in Prime Minister Imran Khan's constituency.

"The sanctity of Parliament should be respected," Rehman said, adding that no member of the assembly wants such untoward incidents to take place in their areas.

Citing statistics from Punjab, Sherry Rehman said that in 2020, more than 90,000 people were bitten by dogs but at that time, no one batted an eye. 

"Was there a demand to suspend the membership of the Chief Minister Punjab or other MPAs due to the rising cases of dog bites there?" she questioned. 

She also asked the court to reconsider the decision to suspend Talpur's membership from the assembly.

'Elected MPAs have failed to provide facilities:' SHC

The SHC, in its written order, directed the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to suspend the memberships of the Members of Provincial Assembly (MPA) from Ratodero and Jamshoro. Talpur and Asad were the MPAs elected from those two areas.

“The dog bite cases are increasing rapidly day-by-day, which shows that all the MPAs being elected have failed to provide facilities to the poor people of their constituencies, especially, in aforesaid pointed out Taluka and district. In such a situation, the membership of MPAs elected from Rata dero and Jamshoro is hereby suspended," read the order.

The bench directed that the copy of the order be sent to the provincial election commissioner to issue a notification regarding the suspension of membership of the MPAs.

Apart from the two, the bench also warned that membership of other lawmakers could be suspended if they do not supervise the ongoing drive against dog bites.

“Remaining members of the provincial assembly are once again directed to supervise the ongoing drive against dog bite cases and ensure that in future no dog bite case happens and if any case of a dog bite is reported, the member of the provincial assembly of that constituency shall be held responsible and their membership may be suspended,” read the order.

The bench also berated the Sindh Assembly secretary for not complying with court orders. It directed the official to explain the non-compliance of court orders.

SHC warns lawmakers of membership suspension

Last month, the bench had ruled that if any person is bitten by a dog, the membership of the respective MPA elected from that area will be suspended.

The court's remarks came during the hearing of a case related to stray dogs biting people in the province. In response, the judges presiding over the case gave "strong remarks".

Responding to the judge, the public prosecutor said that MPAs have nothing to do with the incidents of dog bites, to which the judge said they knew to whom the respective officers paid commissions — and that the MPA must ensure people's safety.

During the hearing, the officers had presented reports on which the court expressed dissatisfaction and adjourned the hearing till March 16.