KARACHI - Sindh Assembly on Monday continued debate on the provincial budget for the fourth day, with opposition lawmakers lamenting less budgetary allocations by the government for Karachi projects and lack of implementation on development projects proposed in the budget.

The government lawmakers, however, argued that it was for the first time that PPP had given due right to Karachi in the budget despite what they said injustices of the federal government in terms of provision of promised funds under the NFC Award.

Speaking on the occasion, Special Assistant to Sindh Chief Minister on Katchi Abadis Ghulam Murtaza Baloch said that injustices of the federal government with the province had reached their peak, as evident by the fact that people had been forced to live without electricity for 20 hours a day.

Baloch was of the view that the provincial government should be praised for presenting such a poor friendly budget under such difficult circumstances. “The budget has also made the government employees happy by raising their salaries by 15 percent,” he added.

“PPP has always provided employment to the youth and once again in this budget the government has announced 40,000 jobs for the youth,” he said, adding that those talking of injustices with Karachi in the budget were liars as they were unaware that a special amount had been allocated for Karachi in the budget.

He said that PPP would emerge victorious in 29 districts of the province in the next general elections and PPP would once again return to power.

PPP lawmaker Sharmila Farooqi applauded Sindh government for earmarking Rs650 billion for lady health workers in the budget, and said that this would ensure improved health facilities in the province.

Sharmila further said that she respected Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhter, but wanted to tell him that PPP loved Karachi more than him.

She said that the provincial government had allocated hefty amounts for different development projects in the province, including K-IV water supply project, S-III sewerage project and others. “Some people are feeling threatened by such heavy allocations for Karachi as they had failed to deliver when they were in power,” she said, and added the provincial government was giving due share to the local government, including Rs4 billion for KMC annually and a Rs500 million grant every month.

She lambasted the federal government for not providing new NFC Award despite constitutional obligation.

Participating in the debate, PTI lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman said that the budget had nothing in it except some figures, and that people even in PPP strongholds like Garhi Khuda Bux, Sehwan and Naudero did not have clean water to drink.

“Every year, budgets of different departments increase, still there is no improvement in any of these departments,” he lamented.

Further lambasting the provincial government for increasing tax rates in the budget, he said that indirect taxes had been raised to 172 percent.

He said that corruption was rampant in Sindh, but unfortunately NAB was silent over it. “We will return the lands and sugar mills of those who were forcefully deprived of their belongings by political elite of the province after coming to power in the province,” he announced.

He said that on one hand the provincial government was talking of improving literacy rate in the province, but the ground realities were different. “The government has been unable to curb sale of fake degrees in the province,” he added.

Minister for Industries and Commerce Manzoor Husssain Wasan said that MQM and PML-N should not speak on corruption and election rigging as they remained involved in corrupt practices. “NAB should probe into illegal allotment of forest land in Khairpur and Sanghar districts,” he said, adding that oil and gas companies should be asked as to who was receiving extortion from them. “This amount should be recovered and distributed among the poor people,” he demanded.

He said that Karachi was the capital of Sindh even before the partition and hatred should not be spread by doing politics on linguistics basis. “We should all work together for the betterment of the province and end hatred from here,” he said, and added that the government had earmarked Rs 70 billion for Karachi.

The House was later adjourned for Tuesday by the speaker.