KARACHI: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill on Tuesday questioned the Sindh government’s budget estimates and rejected its claim of not receiving any financial support from the centre.
Speaking at a press conference at the Governor House, he hit back at senior Pakistan Peoples Party leaders and key men of the Sindh government and came up with data and numbers to substantiate his claims and reject their statements.
The federal government, he vowed, would not let escape the PPP government in Sindh without making it accountable for the spending of funds it had received from the centre over the years.
“Before anything else, you [Sindh government] would have to tell us that where you have spent more than Rs500 billion given by the centre,” he said.
“We would not let you go. You would be held accountable. You can’t deceive people by [telling] lies on live television and fudging the numbers. Here I would share with you the real numbers which prove their incompetence and dishonesty,” he said.
Says Karachiites have paid more money as traffic fines than the whole amount of agriculture tax collected from ‘Sindh’s feudals’
He said that the Sindh government had allocated Rs102bn for Sindh police in the outgoing financial year’s budget but it had spent only Rs93bn.
Similarly, he said, the provincial government had allocated for agriculture Rs14bn, but spent only Rs10bn.
“Why did you not spend the money which you already have and allocated?” he questioned. “You only need money for yourself. You don’t spend it on people. You are not bothered about the people of Sindh,” he said.
‘Sindh can’t be left at PPP’s mercy’
He said that the people of Sindh had given their mandate to Imran Khan and they could not be left at the mercy of the PPP.
Mr Gill said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was claiming that the federal government had missed its tax collection target but he was not worried about his party’s government in Sindh that had failed to achieve its own tax target of Rs128bn.
“You had allocated Rs155bn for development schemes [in the outgoing fiscal year] but you would never tell the people of Sindh that you have completed the development projects worth only Rs100bn,” he said.
He also criticised the dual system of taxation in Sindh where even the poor in urban areas were taxed for minor facilities, while feudals and landlords of the rural parts were allowed to enjoy everything for free.
“In one financial year, Karachiites paid Rs850 million to the traffic police in the name of challans for violating traffic rules,” he said, showing an official document of the Karachi police. “And would you believe that the landlords and feudals of this province have paid only Rs610m as agriculture tax? Here you don’t spare a poor motorcyclist in the city and the feudals and landlords, who are actually patrons of your party, are not even questioned.”
He suggested the PPP chairman take a look at his party’s history of running the affairs of governance before “lecturing others”.
He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government had paid foreign debt with interest worth Rs35,000bn since it came to power. “Pakistan would not have been in such a state had the former governments worked to strengthen the economy,” he said.
Published in Dawn, July 23rd, 2021