KARACHI: As many as 13 members from both sides of the aisle participated in the pre-budget discussions in the Sindh Assembly on Friday. The house, however, once again saw the two sides trading barbs, with the Pakistan Peoples Party legislators blaming the federal government for the poor economic conditions in the province and the opposition members holding the PPP government responsible for the problems faced by the people.
Coming down hard on the PPP government, Riaz Haider of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) said that the provincial authorities did not carry out any significant development work in the province, especially Karachi.
“Karachi’s Central district is the most neglected by the provincial government,” he said and added that just a few uplift works were carried out and that too were an ‘eyewash’. He demanded that basic health units be established at the union council level.
Hina Dastagir praised the provincial government, saying that it continued to carry out uplift works in the province despite shortage of funds and resources. She was of the view that it was time to work jointly for the betterment of the province.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s member Rabia Khatoon said that Karachi was the economic hub and backbone of Sindh as well as Pakistan and contributed a major chunk of revenue, but still the city was being neglected. She said the provincial government had failed to ensure supply of potable water to the city.
Several MPAs say Karachi is being neglected badly
The MQM-P member said the completion date for K-IV scheme had continuously been extended, adding that pure drinking water had turned into a dream for the people.
She said there was only one burns centre in Karachi, demanding that a centre should be established in each district of the province.
She also pointed out that Karachi lacked a proper transport system. “We shouldn’t call it a megacity, but a rickshaw city,” she said while referring to the absence of public buses and presence of a large number of rickshaws in the city.
Grand Democratic Alliance’s (GDA) Abdul Razzaq Rahimoon criticised the PTI-led federal government, saying that Prime Minister Imran Khan during his visit to Tharparkar in March 2019 had announced a Rs1 billion package for water supply to the district, but to no avail.
He said the Sindh government didn’t incorporate into its plans any scheme suggested by the opposition parties. He underlined the need for involving the opposition lawmakers in the development projects by inducting them into the standing committee concerned.
The GDA lawmaker recalled that the opposition had decided to not become part of standing committees after the PTI was denied chairmanship of the public accounts committee. He said the decision deprived the opposition members of the opportunity of proposing uplift schemes through the standing committees.
MPA Rahimoon said that “Asia’s biggest reverse osmosis plant” installed in Mithi with a cost of Rs1bn had not been functional ever since its installation.
Tanzeela Qambrani of the PPP demanded that women police stations should be established at divisional headquarters where women could easily lodge their complaints. She demanded that uplift works, including construction of roads, be launched in her constituency.
PTI’s Shahnawaz Jadoon said his constituency had a population of around 400,000, but it was deprived of basic necessities as there was not a single girls’ college and only one secondary school for girls. “Seven schools are functioning in a building,” he said and asked how would the literacy rate increase with such measures.
PPP’s Dr Sohrab Sarki lauded the provincial government for constructing “thousands of kilometres of roads” in Tharparkar.
Congratulating his party on victory in the by-election in the NA-249 constituency, Mr Sarki said that the PPP would emerge victorious whenever free and fair elections were held. “Establishment should hold free and fair elections,” he said.
Rashid Khilji of the MQM-P asked the provincial government to announce the Provincial Finance Commission, saying that Hyderabad was not getting its due share in funds as there was no formula for distribution of resources.
“The provincial government should give funds to districts as per the revenue generated by them, respectively,” he added.
MQM-P’s Nasir Hussain Qureshi said the Benazir Bhutto flyover in Hyderabad could not be completed even after a lengthy delay. Kanwar Naveed Jameel of the MQM-P had started construction of the flyover when he was the nazim of the city, but the same had yet to be completed by the PPP government.
The legislators who also spoke on the occasion were PPP’s Imdad Pitafi, Burhan Chandio, Mumtaz Jakhrani and PTI’s Dewan Sachand Sachal. Later, the house was adjourned until Monday.
Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021