KARACHI: A strong noisy protest by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in the Sindh Assembly on Thursday marred the sixth and final day of the post-budget discussion, depriving both the leader of the house and the leader of the opposition and several other lawmakers of the opportunity to express their views on the budget.
At the outset of the proceedings, the MQM-P members, who had been boycotting the post-budget session since its beginning for ‘neglecting’ urban parts of Sindh, gathered in front of the speaker’s dais in protest and chanted slogans against the provincial government, holding placards inscribed with slogans.
They continued their anti-government slogans during the speeches of treasury members.
Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who had extended the discussion for a day with the consent of treasury and all opposition parties to accommodate maximum number of lawmakers, had to adjourn the house initially for 10 minutes as all efforts by him, Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah and members of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf to bring the MQM-P back to their seats failed.
As the uproar continued in the house, a visibly irked speaker warned the opposition members that he would adjourn the house if they did not mend their ways.
During the break, Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh and parliamentary leaders of PTI and Grand Democratic Alliance Bilal Ahmed and Hasnain Mirza respectively went to MQM-P’s parliamentary leader Kunwar Naveed Jamil and apparently asked them to end their protest.
Syed Nasir Hussain Shah also went to the protesting members, but the MQM-P turned down all requests and continued the protest even after resumption of proceedings.
When the proceedings resumed after the break, the speaker repeatedly asked the MQM-P protesting members to take their seats or else he would put off the session.
On the speaker’s query, Haleem Shaikh told the chair that he consulted the MQM-P’s parliamentary leader to bring them round, but they opted to continue their protest in the house.
Amid the MQM-P’s protest, two PPP members and a dissident lawmaker of PTI were allowed by the chair to deliver their speeches.
They mainly condemned the MQM-P for disturbing the house.
The PTI members also joined MQM-P protest members and they all chanted ‘lota lota’ (turncoat) during the speech of Shaharyar Khan Shar.
Earlier, GDA’s Nand Kumar said that there was shortage of water in Sanghar which was the second biggest cotton-producing district in the country. He said that agriculture was the backbone of the economy, adding that the growers were incurring losses due to shortage of water. “The provincial government should introduce insurance police for crops,” he demanded.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2021