KARACHI: Opposition Leader in the Sindh Assembly Firdaus Shamim Naqvi said on Thursday that Prime Minister Imran Khan was selected by Allah and elected by the people, adding that the lawmakers of the Pakistan Peoples Party were not elected representatives if they considered the premier unelected.
Speaking on the provincial budget in the Sindh Assembly, he said the 18th Amendment contained several useful provisions that had restored the 1973 Constitution in its true spirit, but added that the amendment was aimed at devolving powers to the grassroots level, which was not done by the Sindh government.
He said Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s constitution was aimed at devolution of powers but the provincial government kept the powers of the third tier of government. “No provincial government in the world has civic departments under its control but the Sindh government has been empowered for lifting garbage, provision of water and other local issues,” he said and added: “These are the reasons for which we demand review of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.”
He suggested that a parliamentary committee of the assembly’s members be formed for further deliberation on the matter.
He said the imposition of governor’s rule in the province was duly constitutional as there was a provision for it in the country’s Constitution and the same could be used if needed.
MQM-P boycotts proceedings terming the budget ‘biased’ against urban areas
The opposition leader said that the PPP founder had incorporated the provision of governor’s rule in the 1973’s Constitution.
Provincial finance commission
He said that just as the PPP asked the centre for the National Finance Commission, the opposition parties in Sindh demanded a provincial finance commission. He said that districts in the province were not given their rights as the Sindh government did not award the provincial finance commission for long.
He also criticised the provincial government for not giving him the Public Accounts Committee’s chairmanship and said it had to be given to the opposition leader “as Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in the Charter of Democracy had agreed to award PAC’s chairmanship to the opposition”.
While he was still on his feet, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani adjourned the sitting to Friday (today) when the leader of the opposition would resume his speech.
PTI blamed for economic downturn
Earlier, Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that the main reason for the economy’s downfall was not the coronavirus, but the PTI.
He said the coronavirus pandemic came in March but the country’s economy had sunk even before that, adding that when the PTI government came to power, the GDP was 5.7 per cent but now it had gone into negative territory.
The minister said that PPP leaders and members were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau without any references. “Faryal Talpur, Khursheed Shah, Sharjeel Memon and many other PPP leaders were arrested without any reference against them. That’s the reason why we call it a double standard of NAB, or a NAB-Niazi nexus,” the minister added.
Referring to the issuance of fake domiciles, he said the chief minister had already formed a committee headed by the chief secretary. “We demand an investigation of the last 40 years to ascertain how many non-residents of Sindh were given domiciles,” he added.
Saeed Ghani said that there were 49,000 small and big schools in Sindh and they all could not be made functional. “The rulers in the past had established 57 schools in one village instead of one,” he said and added that more than a dozen schools were built to boost their egos, so there would be no children, but there could be donkeys in such schools.
Grand Democratic Alliance’ parliamentary leader Husnain Mirza said the 18th Amendment was not a blank cheque for the PPP but it was aimed at devolving powers at the local level.
He demanded that the third tier of the government be financially empowered, and asked the provincial government to set up a provincial finance commission.
Terming the budget biased towards urban areas of the province, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan boycotted the proceedings.
Before boycotting the assembly proceedings, MQM-P parliamentary leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel in his speech lamented that there was no new scheme for Karachi in the budget 2020-21 and said that many schemes for Karachi, which had been incomplete for many years, had been taken away.
He said locals of Karachi were neglected in government jobs as the people having the city’s ‘fake’ domiciles got recruited.
The MQM-P parliamentary leader said that incompetent officers were posted to run the city’s affairs. “We are living in Sindh by choice as Yahya Khan had offered to make Karachi a new province but we opted to remain part of the province,” said Mr Jameel.
The MQM-P lawmakers also held a protest rally and sit-in outside the assembly building.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2020