KARACHI: Nine more lawmakers on Monday participated in the pre-budget discussion and a debate on the budget execution reports of first and second quarter of the current fiscal year in the Sindh Assembly with Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan staging a symbolic boycott of the proceeding.
The house once again witnessed an uproar when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani did not give more time to MQM-P member Javed Hanif to continue his speech after the stipulated time given to each lawmaker to forward their proposals for the upcoming budget.
The situation took an unpleasant turn when the chair switched off microphone of the MPA, while the latter was still on his feet.
After a brief but heated argument with the speaker, the MQM-P members staged a token walkout against what he alleged “biased attitude of the chair”.
A visibly irked speaker told the protesting opposition members that they could always stage a walk out if they were that much fond of such protests. “You all had decided that each member would speak for 10 minutes,” the speaker argued.
Earlier, speaking on the floor of the house, Javed Hanif criticised performance of the provincial government and said that it was able to spend only 19 per cent of development budget in the first two quarters. He said that the provincial government had allocated Rs5 billion for Covid-19-related measures but not a single penny was spent.
The MQM-P lawmaker also vehemently criticised the provincial government for making local bodies powerless by holding up all of their resources.
Shaheena Sher Ali of Pakistan Peoples Party said that the people of the province knew that only PPP could resolve issues of masses and carry out development works.
She said that PPP’s provincial government had carried out uplift works even in those constituencies where MNAs and MPAs belonged to opposition parties.
Paksitan Tehreek-i-Insaf member Sidra Imran came down heavily on the provincial government pointing out that Karachi was badly affected by coronavirus but the health department could spend only six per cent of total budget allocated for the city. She said industries department was the most neglected one, adding that the sports and youths affairs department was also not on Sindh government’s priority contrary to PPP’s manifesto.
She asked the provincial government to announce an emergency plan for child protection.
The others who spoke were PPP’s Heer Soho, Taj Muhammad Mallah and Riaz Shah Sheerazi and Viryam Faqeer of the Grand Democratic Alliance.
The house was adjourned till Thursday.
Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021