ISLAMABAD - The parliamentary opposition parties and Women MNAs on across the divide are set to settle score with PML-N government for alleged discrimination in distribution of development funds.
The opposition parties are mulling to evolve a strategy to compel government to equally distribute funds among opposition lawmakers of lower house.
The Women legislators from both sides of the aisle are even planning to knock the door of court after certain time, if ‘justice’ was not given to female MNAs on reserved seats.
The government in this scenario might face tough situation for passing upcoming budget 2015-15, if it failed to settle the situation in an amicable way. “The issue of development funds has not died down with the prorogation of 21st National Assembly session,” said PPP’s senior lawmaker Naveed Qamar, while talking to The Nation. There should be no discrimination in distribution of development funds between opposition and government MNAs. “What is the criterion? Are blue-eyed or party members only lucky to get the funds,” he said, hinting to evolve any joint strategy of opposition before upcoming budget session of parliament to give tough time on this discrimination. “We are not demanding funds but equal treatment with all the MNAs of the house,” he remarked. Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Khursheed Shah has already strongly criticised the government for their discrimination in distribution of uplift funds. Shah had pointed out gap of Rs30 million, as opposition parties members would get Rs20 million and treasury MNAs are being allocated Rs50 million.
The second largest opposition party (PTI), which recently rejoined parliamentary proceeding after six months gap, has also reservations for even not being considered for allocation of funds. “We should also be equally treated,” said PTI’s senior MNA Shafqat Mehmood, while talking to this scribe. “This issue is still not discussed in the party,” he added. Whereas, the third largest opposition party in the National Assembly (MQM) have linked it with local bodies elections. “There should be no prejudice approach, equal treatment should be made with all,”  said Rashid Godil, adding that local bodies elections should be conducted to avert such situation. “Mian Nawaz Sharif is not only Prime Minister of Lahore,” he said, adding that other lawmakers should have all the right to spend for their constituencies.
The women lawmakers from treasury and opposition benches before the completion of second parliamentary year had shown unanimity in the National Assembly. The point of unity was related to non-provision of funds to Women MNAs on reserved seats by government.
This unique unity of Women MNAs was shown only on funds issue might not prolong till upcoming budget session, as government side might convince their Women lawmakers in a week, said a government benches senior lawmaker, desiring not be named.
When contacted, PPP’s lawmaker Shazia Marri said that this was the issue of justice and violation of constitution. “Women lawmakers on reserved seats can also go to court for this purpose,” she said, adding that this was matter of a mindset against the women rights.
Quoting example of German parliament, she said that half of the parliament is formed with Women legislators. “It is not mentioned in law that Women lawmakers on reserved seats are not entitled to get funds,” she added.
The matter of development funds remained dominant in National Assembly on last three days of second parliamentary year. As, PML-N government faced a tough situation when the opposition and women lawmakers across the political divide separately staged walkouts over discrimination in distribution of development funds.
The women MNAs staged the walkout to press for their demand to give development funds equally to the lawmakers on reserved seats without any discrimination. However, the government side had not come up with any solid response to satisfy the opposition factions and women legislators till the end of the session, as they were only assured to convey their concerns to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.