• PTI lawmaker terms action ‘state terrorism’
• Sharjeel accuses ex-PM of flouting law, Constitution
• Call to fix Rs35,000 as minimum wage as pre-budget debate continues

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly witnessed heated discussion on the issue of a police siege of the Lahore residence of former prime minister Imran Khan to arrest him as lawmakers from the both sides of the aisle hurled harsh comments on each other leaderships on Wednesday.

The situation took an unpleasant turn at the very outset when the parliamentary party leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Khurram Sher Zaman, who was allowed by the chair to offer fateha, raised the issue of the police action terming it state terrorism.

“Teargas shells are being fired at the residence of Imran Khan and the day is not far when it will happen to Bilawal House,” he snapped before Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani switched off his microphone.

The PTI lawmaker’s comment enraged Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon who also came down heavily on the PTI chairman.

“He [Imran Khan] complains about pain in his leg when court asks him to appear, but he has time to take out rallies,” he jibed.

The minister said that the former prime minister was constantly flouting the law and Constitution. “Imran Khan says that the children of the nation should come out. But why doesn’t he bring his own children out,” he questioned.

Pre-budget discussion

On the fourth day of the ongoing pre-budget debate in the house, Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho mainly spoke about the achievements made by the provincial government during the past five years in the health sector.

She said that 890 liver transplants and 6,985 kidney transplants were conducted in the provincial government’s facilities during the past five years.

She said that 81 per cent children up to two years of age were fully immunised while 38 million, or 90 per cent, eligible population was administered Covid-19 vaccination.

Taking part in the pre-budget discussion, Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) Shaheryar Mahar first condemned the registration of FIRs against PTI lawmakers and their arrest.

He said that the rains had exposed the ‘inefficiency’ of the irrigation department and demanded that the drainage system in Shikarpur should be improved. “Had the drainage system been improved, there would not have been so much destruction in the province during floods,” he added.

Mr Mahar said that the agriculture department did not do any substantial work for the uplift of farmers in the province.

The GDA member also condemned the provincial government in its ‘failure’ to restore law and order situation in the province.

He said that the security situation in Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kashmore and Khairpur was worse. “The chief minister is holding the home portfolio. He should quit if he is not capable to deliver,” he said.

He alleged that the provincial government did not seek assistance from Rangers and army to cope up the menace of dacoits in the riverine areas of the province.

He said that inflation had made the live of common man miserable. “The provincial government claimed that the flour would be available at Rs95 per kg across the province, but it is being sold at Rs170 per kg.”

He said that the health and education budget in Sindh was 40pc of the province’s budget, but there was no improvement in the two sectors. “The roofs and walls of schools are collapsing and there is no ambulance facility to shift the body from Karachi to interior parts of the province when someone dies,” he deplored.

He said that local government had now become a burden on the provincial government as it was not capable to perform up to the satisfaction of people.

Ministers slammed for absence during debate

In his speech, Mufti Qasim Fakhri of the Tehreek Labaik Pakistan vehemently criticised the provincial ministers over their ‘disinterest’ in the pre-budget session and asked whom he should give his budget proposals as ministers were not present in the house.

He said that the pre-budget session was held so that members could forwards their suggestions and recommendations for the upcoming budget but the minister did not attend the session.

“I came here to put up my suggestions before the provincial government but after seeing lethargic attitude, I will not give my recommendations as a protest. The only suggestion I am forwarding today is that ministers who don’t come to assembly should resign,” the TLP parliamentary party leader said.

He said that when the ministers could not be present in the assembly, how would they serve the people.

Focusing mainly on issues of his constituency, PTI’s Saeed Ahmed Afridi said that sewerage system in his constituency was in disarray.

He said that parks and playgrounds had been destroyed, demanding at least one sport complex in his constituency so that the people could get part in healthy activities.

He said that the work for establishing a 200-bed government hospital in Mominabad was initiated back in 2012 but the same could not be completed even after 11 years.

He said that officials of Sindh government had also admitted that around 15 schools in his constituency were deprived of basic necessities including water and electricity.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Rabia Khatoon demanded that Rs35,000 should be fixed as minimum wage in view of the inflation.

She also asked the provincial government to complete the uplift works on time, adding that the delay did not only increase the amount but also trouble the people.

“A large number of Landhi and Korangi people do their jobs in Shershah and Tower, the Sindh government should launch a bus service on these routes,” she added.

Expressing concerns over rapid increase in street crime in Karachi, the Muttahida MPA said that local policing should be adopted. She also demanded one police station at each UC.

PTI’s Sher Zaman and Bilal Ahmed, MQM-P’s Nasir Qureshi and Nadeem Siddiqui and GDA’s Waryam Faqeer also spoke.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2023



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