QUETTA: Opposition parties in Balochistan have termed the provincial budget illegal and unconstitutional and decided to challenge it in a court of law.

Flanked by Malik Naseer Ahmed Shahwani, Sana Baloch, Ahmed Nawaz Baloch of the Balochistan National Party-Mengal, Nasarullah Zerey of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party and Shakeela Naveed Dahwar, leader of the opposition in the provincial assembly Malik Sikandar Khan announced at a press conference that a petition would be filed in the Balochistan High Court in a couple of days because nothing has been allocated for the people in the budget.

“Downtrodden people of the province have completely been ignored in the budget,” Mr Sikandar alleged, adding that the flawed development schemes had been included in the provincial budget just to benefit members of the ruling coalition parties and some selected members.

He said low-income employees were neglected in the budget as not a single penny had been added to their salaries despite an unprecedented hike in the prices of essential commodities and the recent increase in the rates of petroleum products.

Talking about the situation created by the outbreak of coronavirus in the province, the opposition leader called for conducting an investigation into reported mass corruption in the purchases of goods to beat the pandemic.

Mr Sikandar said the Supreme Court had raised questions about the performance of the National Disaster Management Authority during the coronavirus outbreak.

He said while government hospitals had failed to provide ambulance service to the people the coalition government had planned to purchase an air ambulance at a cost of Rs2.5 billion.

The opposition leaders criticised the provincial government for including individual schemes in the development budget and ignoring issues of the common man.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020