KARACHI: The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan has condemned the Pakistan Peoples Party government’s Sindh budget for financial year 2019-20 and said that it had “completely ignored” the urban parts of the province.
“For the past two decades, Pakistan has been gripped by terrorism while the urban areas of Sindh have fallen prey to economic terrorism for the past decade,” MQM-P convener Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui told a press conference here on Friday.
Dr Siddiqui, who is the federal minister for IT and telecom, was referring to the PPP’s rule over Sindh for the past 11 years.
The party chooses to not criticise the PTI govt’s tax-heavy federal budget
While the MQM-P rejected the PPP’s Sindh budget, it did not use similar words for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government’s tax-heavy federal budget.
The Karachi-based party is a junior coalition partner of the PTI government at the Centre with two ministers in the federal cabinet. Recently Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that the MQM would get another ministry — apparently in return for its support in the passage of the federal budget.
Taking exception to a recent speech of former president and PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the National Assembly in which he alluded to Urdu-speaking community as a small minority in Sindh, Dr Siddiqui said: “The PPP co-chairman must keep in mind that by contributing 70 per cent of the total revenue of the country this small minority of Sindh has been running the [economy of] the province and Pakistan.”
He said despite its limited seats in the lower house the MQM-P was still the biggest representative party of urban Sindh.
He said that Karachi provided 70pc revenue to Pakistan and 95pc revenue to Sindh but in return it got a mere 10pc share.
The MQM-P convener lashed out at the PPP and said that due to its “biased attitude” the party had practically divided Sindh.
He said that the Sindh government did nothing for the urban and rural parts of the province; it had especially destroyed the infrastructure of Karachi.
He said that instead of providing relief to the masses, the Sindh budget was aimed at snatching the hard-earned money of the people by imposing “unjust” taxes.
K-IV completion not in sight
Speaking on the occasion, senior leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel said that the most important project of Karachi was of K-IV water supply scheme.
He said that due to the “incompetence” of the PPP government the estimated cost of the project rose to over Rs100 billion.
Mr Jameel, who is the parliamentary party leader of the MQM-P in the Sindh Assembly, said that the current pace of work on the project suggested that this vital scheme for the people of Karachi would not be completed in the next 10 to 15 years.
He said that Karachi was facing a severe water crisis and it seemed that the government was only interested in making an increased allocation in the head of K-IV project in the budgets of coming financial years.
He said that the Sindh government had reduced Rs1.88bn in the next financial year’s allocation for the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, who is also one of the many deputy conveners of the MQM-P, said that the budget the KMC got from the Sindh government was not even sufficient for the salaries of the municipal employees and because of the provincial government the KMC employees did not get salaries on Eid.
‘Sindh most corrupt province’
The mayor accused the PPP government of allocating hefty sums for its desired development schemes only to mint money.
He said that the corruption during the PPP’s rule could be gauged from the remarks of a senior Supreme Court justice who said Sindh was the “most corrupt” province of Pakistan.
Former leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hasan said that the Sindh government was trying to engineer “water riots” in Karachi only to divert attention from its incompetence and corruption.
Senior parliamentarian Mohammad Hussain said that during the 11-year rule of PPP more than Rs5 trillion of tax had been collected from Karachi and in return a small amount of Rs100bn was allocated for the development of the metropolis over one decade.
Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2019