LAHORE: A demand has been made in the Punjab Assembly for downsizing the bureaucracy, blaming the officialdom for defacing every good project. A member of the treasury also called for abolishing all authorities and companies to reduce the financial burden on the province.

The demands were made by the PML-N’s Amjad Ali Javed who lauded the government for reducing the loan burden of the province and allocating more funds for education, health, agriculture and infrastructure.

On the other hand, the lawmakers in the assembly continued political point-scoring during the third day of the four-day open discussion on the budget on Saturday.

Responding to the PTI’s claims of not allowing peaceful rallies and public meetings, Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman said the PTI would have to seek permission from the district administration for holding a public meeting or organising a protest.

Abolition of all govt authorities, companies sought during budget session

Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party MPA Shoaib Siddiqui said he faced five cases under terrorism charges during the PTI regime besides being subjected to other abuses.

PTI-backed SIC lawmaker Rana Shehbaz said Asif Zardari and the Sharifs were trying to impose their new generations on the masses. Lauding Imran Khan for keeping the economy stable during the Covid-19, he said presently the people were dying of hunger because the London plan for dislodging the PTI government damaged the national economy.

The PML-N’s Salma Butt chided the opposition for defying Supreme Court order by not holding local government polls and cutting down Punjab’s development budget during its tenure.

SIC legislator Nadeem Dogar lamented that the textile industry in Faisalabad was lying closed while wheat growers were financially hurt as the government backed out of its promise of procuring wheat.

The Opposition’s Ahmer Rashid Bhatti was at a loss to understand distribution of funds through block allocations while the house was kept in the dark about utilisation of funds.

He demanded the use of subsidies for commissioning industries instead of making the people beggars and charity-seekers.

SIC MPA Awais Virk questioned the reason behind the arrest of the farmers protesting for their rights and non-procurement of wheat by the government.

Tashakul Abbas Warraich said the PTI was blamed for its four-year performance but the PML-N was not ready to explain its 25-year working.

Treasury MPA Ahsan Raza said without Nawaz Sharif all development was zero while Shazia Rizwan said the PTI proved to be the most corrupt party in the government.

Hafiz Tahir Qaisrani, Wasif Mazhar Raan, Zarnab Sher Sahi, Uzma Kardar, Farooq Maneka, Daud Jatoi, Sher Shahid Javed and others also took part in the budget debate.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2024

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