KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Monday continued to witness ruckus and exchange of unparliamentary words between the lawmakers belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples Party during the second day of debate on the provincial budget as most speakers hurled derogatory remarks at each other’s leadership.

The situation took an ugly turn when PTI’s Dua Bhutto, who is also wife of Opposition Leader Haleem Adil Sheikh, took a jibe at the PPP male members during her budget speech for ‘physically manhandling’ her in the budget session.

“My dupatta was taken of that day, only those who do not respect their own mothers or sisters can do this,” she said while pointing to the PPP members.

As several PPP female members rose to interrupt her, she asked Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari to make those “goats” silent.

“Whosoever took off my dupatta had taken off his sister’s and Bakhtawar Bhutto’s dupatta,” she snapped, inviting a strong protest from the treasury benches.

Verbal brawl began when PTI’s Dua Bhutto accused male PPP lawmakers of manhandling her in previous sitting

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla rose in agitation asking the PTI lawmaker to tender an apology. “This is to too much. This is not the way, she should take back her remarks and apologies,” Mr Chawla demanded and added that the PTI must not drag leadership or else the matter would go too far.

While Dua Bhutto continued to criticise the PPP lawmakers, the deputy speaker switched off her microphone and said that leadership of any party should not be criticised. “Do not name the leadership. I will not allow this,” the chair said while giving floor to PPP’s Kulsoom Chandio. As Ms Chandio started to give her view on budget, the PTI members interrupt her chanting slogans ‘Mobile Chor’ (mobile phone thief).

Speaking on the budget, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said that the project of laying railway link for transporting Thar coal to other power plants of the country would start soon.

He reiterated Sindh’s long-standing demand that under Article 158 of the Constitution, the province has the first right to use the gas it produces.

Call to welcome ‘positive aspects’ of budget

While most of the lawmakers delivered political speeches instead of forwarding suggestions and proposals, Mangla Sharma of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-P said that the budget was being praised and criticised by the members from the two sides of the aisle as per “tradition”.

“But the positive aspects of the budget must be welcomed,” she added.

She greeted the provincial government for the increase in the allocations of the women development programme and said that the funds must be utilised for establishing darul amans and shelter houses for affected women.

The minority member of the MQM-P also underlined the need of setting up hostels for women from remote parts of the province who got jobs far away from their residences.

She also took exception to marriages of underage girls on the basis of their so-called ossification tests by medical boards. “Why don’t you close down NADRA when you have to confirm the ages through medical examinations,” she retorted.

The woman legislator said that the country was not only facing religious extremism, but was also hit by “political extremism”.

Police accused of manipulating LG polls

Grand Democratic Alliance Shaheryar Khan Mahar said that pre-budget session should have been held to seek suggestions from the members. He said that the PPP was ruling the province for the past 15 years but it could not run a single school in efficient manner.

“Bilawal Bhutto-Zaradari had said that democracy is the best revenge. Is this the revenge Bilawal Sahib was talking about?” he asked.

Mr Mahar said that law and order situation in Shikarpur district was worsening. “All police is doing in Shikarpur is manipulating the upcoming local government election,” he alleged.

PTI’s Shahzad Qureshi in his speech said that the PPP’s provincial government destructed education sector the most, adding that 6.2 million students were out of school in the province. “

The teachers recruited recently cannot even spell primary, how would they teach our children,” he deplored.

He said that Karachi had always been neglected by the PPP’s provincial government. He said that 16 mega schemes were included for the city in the last budget, but 14 of them could not even be initiated yet.

Those who also spoke included MQM-P’s Rabia Khatoon and Ali Khursheedi, GDA’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi and PTI’s Sanjay Gangwani and Dua Bhutto and PPP’s Rana Hameer Singh, Kulsoom Chandio, Surendar Valasai, Qasim Soomro, Noor Ahmed Bhurgri, Shazia Kareem, Shamim Mumtaz and Aijaz Sheerazi

Later, the sitting was adjourned to Wednesday (tomorrow).

Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022

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