KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Friday witnessed chaos as lawmakers belonging to ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf came to blows after a PTI member hurled extremely unparliamentary words against the PPP leadership during the second day of budget debate.
The situation took an ugly turn when PPP’s Syed Zulfikar Ali Shah paid the PTI’s Arsalan Taj Ghumman in the same coin by hurling the same words for entire PTI leadership that led to shouting and trading barbs.
When Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani tried to calm down the situation asking the two sides to show restraint in the house, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that the PTI member had first started insulting PPP leadership, which would not be tolerated.
Following the exchange of barbs, the members from the two parties rose and moved towards each other, but a brawl was averted with some members from both sides intervening in time and holding back their respective enraged members.
Taking part in the post-budget discussion, PTI’s Ghumman lambasted PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, though without naming him for his statement in the National Assembly.
MQM-P MPAs stay away from house proceedings and hold a presser to reject the Sindh budget 2021-22
Zulfikar Shah of the PPP waited for his turn to hit back at the PTI and he too used unparliamentary words against the latter’s leadership including Prime Minister Imran Khan. “In the next elections we will throw out this garbage,” he said.
PTI’s Raja Azhar rose to intercept the PPP member hurling some remarks, which could not be heard in the press gallery. His utterances ostensibly enraged Minister Chawla, who lost his cool and aggressively moved towards the PTI member but they were separated by members from both sides.
During his speech, Mr Shah also hurled unparliamentary words against Grand Democratic Alliance’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi.
MQM-P stays away from proceedings
Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan stayed away from the proceedings and did not turn up in the house.
Instead, its lawmakers held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, where MQM’s parliamentary party leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel rejected the “biased budget” of the Sindh government and said that Karachi got only 3.2 per cent of Sindh’s total development budget.
He said that the Sindh government had allocated only 15pc of the total development budget for five major urban areas of the province — Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Nawabshah — and that too would not be spent.
During Saturday’s sitting, when asked by the speaker if the MQM-P had boycotted the proceedings, PTI’s Firdous Shamim Naqvi told the chair that they were not participating in the post-budget discussion as they wanted the 10-minute time given to each member for speech to be extended to 20 minutes.
The speaker said that all the parties had agreed on the 10-minute time for post-budget speeches by the members.
Participating in the post-budget discussion, the members of the two sides mainly criticised each other leadership instead of forwarding suggestions and proposals for their respective constituencies.
Earlier, Ghazala Sial of the PPP welcomed the provincial budget and criticised the federal government for its policies towards Sindh, saying the centre was bent upon crippling the province economically.
“The Sindh government proposed 70 schemes to the federal government but none of them was approved,” she lamented.
‘36pc rural literacy rate in Sindh’
PTI’s Rabia Azfar Nizami mainly expressed her concern over the education department and said that there was over 12 million children in the province and only 4.5m children were enrolled in the government schools and as many were out of school, while 3.7m were in private schools.
She said that 2.3m children dropped out after fifth grade.
The PTI member said that rural literacy rate in Sindh was 36pc, which was even lower than Balochistan where it was 55pc. The PTI MPA while quoting a report of an NGO said that 100,000 children were indulged in begging while 3.38m were subjected to forced labour in the province.
“As many as 980 children were abused in the province during the past one year,” she said.
Ms Azfar said that a huge amount was earmarked for the purchase of schools’ furniture in every budget but no furniture was bought for the past eight years.
She recalled that the chief minister had announced three years ago that the education boards would not charge examination fee from the students, but the decision was yet to be implemented.
The PTI member said that the future of 70pc students of government schools was at stake in view of Covid-19 situation as they did not have facilities of internet.
She said there was a shortage of teachers in government schools as 37,000 posts were lying vacant, and added that there were 29 teachers’ training institutes across the province but only two of them were operational.
She suggested that at least one million children should be enrolled every year in schools.
PPP’s Syeda Marvi Faseeh welcomed the budget and said that there should have been more allocation for agriculture as the growers incurred huge losses due to heavy rains and locust attacks in the province.
She appreciated the provincial government for allocating Rs500m for women associated with the agriculture sector.
She demanded that the land being cultivated by women be leased in their names.
GDA’s Moazzam Ali Abbasi criticised the provincial government for the lack of civic and medical facilities in Larkana and said that if the Sindh government could not bring any positive change in the district of ‘Bhuttos’ what can it do in the rest of the province.
He said that there were mafias everywhere in the education department and no teacher was willing to be appointed in Larkana due to these mafias.
PPP’s Jam Shabbir Ali, Yousuf Baloch, Tariq Talpur, Tanzila Umme Habiba, Shazia Singhar, Taj Mallah and Ameer Ali Shah, GDA’s Arif Jatoi, and Naseem Rajpar, and PTI’s Shabbir Qureshi and Raja Azhar also spoke.
Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2021