LAHORE: Holding a parallel session without the opposition in attendance, the Punjab government got its budget sailed through the assembly, giving much-needed and equally-contested legal cover to the Finance Bill.

The budget session at Aiwan-i-Iqbal, where the government also passed “40 demands for grants” without any cut motion – normally moved by the Opposition, which has been holding its parallel session at Punjab Assembly building.

Sardar Awais Leghari of the PML-N, who had been notified by Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz to deal with financial matters, concluded the “general discussion” claiming everyone will see Punjab getting better than what was left behind by the PTI’s Usman Buzdar.

Leghari, in his speech, not only welcomed the suggestions given by the lawmakers but also thanked those who drew attention towards core issues. He assured the House to leave no stone unturned to ameliorate the condition of the poor.

40 demands for grants passed without cut motion as Opp holds parallel session at assembly building

“No doubt that the province is passing through critical times but we will make all-out effort to put it back on track. The sectors ruined by the flawed policies of the previous regime will be set right.

“The chief minister will ensure access to free medical treatment to middle class through health card, adding that the poor would no longer be robbed in the name of Sehat Card.

“The government will meet the international standard in road infrastructure, which unfortunately had been neglected by the PTI government. The masses will be given relief in electricity bills through green energy.

“The province is facing many challenges and we will have to pull it out of the current imbroglio. Interest-free loans worth over Rs20 billion will be given to the masses. We will ensure relief at doorsteps of the poor and day and night work is required to meet the challenges and the PML-N will do it come what may,” he said.

As Leghari concluded his speech, Panel of Chairmen Khalil Tahir Sindhu, who was presiding over the session, said although the Opposition was invited to submit cut motions, no one from it has done so. However, he started the process of approving the demands for grants, which were passed one by one.

The journalists covering the session boycotted the session briefly to highlight their lingering issues that have not been resolved for long. The government, on its part, formed a committee that included minister for law and home as member to sort them out on a priority basis.

Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz also attended the budget session. The house was later adjourned till Thursday (today) afternoon.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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