KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly, in the early hours of Tuesday quickly passed the Rs1.713 trillion tax-free budget for financial year 2022-23 in the presence of MQM-P members and the absence of lawmakers belonging to the PTI, GDA and two other opposition parties, after adjourning and reconvening the house post-midnight.

Earlier in the day, the house had one of the lengthiest sittings lasting over 12 hours as Leader of the Opposition Halim Adil Sheikh spoke for over five hours, mainly criticising the provincial government and praising PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan. Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also spoke for more than one hour.

The budget was passed in 10-minute proceedings after the house hurriedly approved all 78 demands for grants on supplementary expenditure for 2021-22 moved by the chief minister, who also holds the portfolio of finance.

No cut motions were moved by any of the opposition parties to discuss the supplementary expenditures of current and next financial years revised by the provincial government as none of the movers was present.

Only 10 MQM members were present in the house when the budget was passed unanimously.

Amid strong protest by the whistle-blowing opposition members, the chief minister had on June 14 presented the tax-free deficit budget with a development outlay of Rs459.6 billion. The allocation for FY23 is higher by Rs190bn than the revised ADP of Rs269.6bn for the ongoing year.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2022

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