LAHORE During the budget speech of Finance Minister Tanvir Ashraf Kaira on Monday, the Opposition in Punjab Assembly recorded protest over the issue of skyrocketing prices of pulses in contrast to cheap bread being sold to the poor at Rs2 in the province.
Du Rupae ki Roti, Sau Rupae ki Daal, Gharib ka ho Gia Burra Haal (Bread is selling at Rs 2, pulses are selling at Rs 100, the poor man is in trouble), was the slogan opposition members raised when the finance minister announced that the government would provide an overall subsidy of Rs 15 billion on wheat and sugar during Ramadan and also continue its 'Sasti Roti Scheme with enhanced budgetary allocation for the coming fiscal year.
The opposition members, mostly the females, pointed out that it was an irony that the poor were being forced to buy pulses at an exorbitant rate of Rs 100 per kg to eat a bread being supplied at Rs 2 and that too at specified tandoors only.
They also added another catchphrase of Aata Chor, Cheeni Chor (Flour Thief, Sugar Thief) to their earlier slogan.
Samina Khawar Hayat and Seemal Kamran were two prominent lady legislators who kept up the sloganeering against the government during the budget speech despite repeated warnings by the Chair to keep the House in order.
Sasti Roti Mehnga Qanoon (Cheap Bread, Expensive Justice) was another slogan by the Opposition when Kaira told the House that budgetary allocation for the Police Department had been raised from the present level of Rs 43.
27 billion to Rs 49.
49 billion.
Earlier, the Opposition members led by their leader, Ch Zaheeruddin Ahmad, staged a token walk out from assembly in protest when Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal ignored its advice about suspending the rules of procedure before administering oath to the four newly elected members of the House and Chairs own fresh oath.
Mohsin Leghari was of the view that according to rules of procedure, the first day of the budget session was solely meant for budget speech by the finance minister, and hence Rana Iqbal should suspended the relevant rules before taking up any other item which otherwise could not be placed on the agenda of assembly business.
Mohsin Leghari and Seemal Kamran even left their seats and came very close to the Speakers rostrum to disrupt the oath, but Rana Iqbal did not pay heed to what they were saying about legality of the his oath and that of new members.
They took to their seats after Deputy Speaker Rana Mashood requested them not to disturb the speaker.
This prompted the Opposition to stage a token walk out to register their protest over Rana Iqbals attitude.

This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 15-Jun-2010 here.