KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly witnessed another quiet day on Tuesday as debate on the next financial year’s budget continued for the second day in which 27 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle participated.
Lawmakers belonging to the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party expressed their anger over the arrest of MPA Faryal Talpur by the National Accountability Bureau in Islamabad and her non-production in the house despite issuance of her production order.
Ten lawmakers belonging to the opposition parties and 17 of the treasury benches took part in the discussion on the budget. During the discussion the two sides did criticise each other, but the proceedings remained peaceful.
NAB fails to bring Faryal Talpur to the session despite her production order
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Mohammad Hussain complained that no one from the finance department was in the galleries to take notes of the speeches being made by members.
Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani asked him not to interrupt the discussion and assured him that everything was being noted down.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Sidra Imran questioned the provincial government’s grievance that Islamabad was delaying or slashing the Sindh government’s due share. She added that a hefty amount of Rs835 billion mentioned in the budget books as Sindh’s share from Islamabad for the next fiscal year clearly showed the provincial government was wrong.
The PTI lawmaker claimed 1,828 out of 2,400 reverse osmosis plants across the province were not functioning.
PPP’s Shazia Karim said the federal government’s “hostile” behaviour towards Sindh was clearly shown from the fact that it had scrapped 30 schemes proposed for the province. She appreciated the provincial government’s priorities on education, health and law and order.
MQM-P’s Mangla Sharma said the budgetary documents reflected fewer projects for Hindu community. She said Hindu girls were being converted forcibly or by exploiting their poor economic conditions.
She wondered why Muslim girls were being killed in the name of so-called honour (karo kari) while Hindu girls were being garlanded for marrying Muslims “allegedly of their free will”.
She demanded establishment of a minority commission and enforcement of law restraining child marriages.
PPP’s Anthony Naveed said his party had sacrificed for the rights of people of minority faiths, which was clearly shown in the murders of Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti.
He said Islamabad wanted to get the Sindh government to bow down, but all such plots would fail. He also seconded Ms Sharma’s demand for establishment of a minority commission.
Grand Democratic Alliance’s Moazzam Abbasi said the next year’s provincial budget gave a false impression that Sindh had been developed as Singapore and Hong Kong while the reality was totally opposite.
PPP’s Kulsoom Chandio complained against the “step-motherly attitude” towards Sindh by the federation. She said despite all problems Sindh’s decision to increase salaries of its employees and pensions was not digestible for political opponents.
She said if Sindh was ungovernable than how people from elsewhere arrive here and got treatment in its hospitals.
PTI’s Shabbir Qureshi said hospitals and dispensaries in Karachi were in a shambles. He said 5,000 schools in the province were ghost schools.
PPP’s Burhan Chandio warned that his party would not tolerate humiliating words against their leadership.
Riaz Sheerazi, also from the PPP, demanded the provincial government relaunch the Keti Bundar project, which had been annulled by the previous federal government.
PPP’s Pir Mujeeb said the federal government had overburdened the poor with taxes and its policies had negatively affected the growth rate.
He said electricity bills had remarkably increased while loadshedding turned even worse. He said the Sindh government would certainly make the Karachi Circular Railway a reality.
GDA’s Naseem Rajpar demanded that tuition centres should also be charged as they were charging huge fees from students.
PTI’s Adeeba Hasan said budget reflected few allocations for women empowerment. She said the government had not established women complaint centres in most districts.
MQM-P’s Rashid Khilji said sense of deprivation was on the rise in the urban parts of Sindh because of little attention to their development by the provincial government. He demanded that community policing be promoted and funds be kept for the Government College (Kali Mori) University in Hyderabad.
PTI’s Adeel Ahmed demanded establishment of the provincial finance commission. He said funds for the district annual development programme should have been more than Rs20bn in the next fiscal year’s budget.
PPP’s Surendar Valasai claimed that the PTI government was “digging a huge hole” for the national economy as one-fourth of the country’s wealth had been wiped out during the 10 months of “PTI’s misrule”.
Hizbullah Bughio, Shahid Thaheem, Karim Bux Gabol, Aijaz Bukhari, Shah Hussain Sheerazi, Mumtaz Chandio, Tariq Talpur, Zia Shah, Taj Mallah, Shaheen Sher Ali, Shahana Ashar and Seemin Soomro also took part in the debate
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2019