KARACHI-Both the opposition and treasury benches in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday agreed to start the pre-budget session from upcoming Monday [April 22] in protest and brawl marred session that began one and an half hours late then the scheduled time.

The opposition parties including Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) staged protest in the house before commencement of the proceedings of the private members day that started late with speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair.

The opposition parties members protested against the delay in proceedings and raised slogans against ruling party-PPPP - for what they shouted - “looting the province.”

They, however, dispersed, as soon as speaker held his chair on the assurance of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla to address their grievances.

Soon after the prayers session, the opposition leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi and PTI Lawmaker Khurram Sher Zaman asked speaker to allow them to speak over the matter of public importance under rule 256.

The speaker after some debate allowed the opposition leader to speak. Naqvi in his speech pointed out that the proceedings of the house were not run properly and the ruling party is taking advantage of its majority in the house to suppress voice of the opposition.

“This behaviour from the treasury is according to the democratic norms,” he charged, adding that although the ruling party, using its majority, took over standing committees and PAC committee, in democratic countries, the posts of (critique) are given to opposition for better supervision of the government affairs.

SPEAKER, OPPOSITION LEADER TRADE BARBS

During the speech, the opposition leader blamed the speaker for being partisan in running affairs of the house.

This infuriated the speaker, who asked the former opposition leaders and members to give testimony in his favour as to how well he has accommodated opposition parties in the past and present tenures.

“I know some of the opposition lawmakers have spoken against me outside the assembly over NAB raid but I cannot respond to them in the house because being the custodian of this house,” he said and warned to give a befitting reply to his opponents if allowed to speak to press outside the assembly after the bail.

Meanwhile, opposition and treasury lawmakers also traded barbs against each other and almost involved in physical fight unless leaders from both sides intervened and avert the ugly episode.

The incident occurred during opposition leader’s speech after lawmakers from both sides blamed each other for criticising their leaderships.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla also asked the speaker to refrain opposition from criticising their top leadership and threatened to disrupt the proceedings if an apology does not come from opposition members. 

 

PRE-BUDGET DEBATE

The opposition leader during his speech also raised the issue of delay in pre-budget session of the provincial assembly.

To this, Mukesh Kumar Chawla said that they are ready for holding the session from Monday onwards for at least five days. Responding to the criticism of not laying quarterly expenditure reports in the house from opposition leader, the minister assured that the reports would be laid in the house on Wednesday (today).

The speaker also taunted the opposition leader for approaching the Sindh High Court over pre-budget debate in the house. “Even the apex judge of the high court asked the opposition to consult with me (speaker) over the issue,” he said and added that government is ready to convene the pre-budget debate but opposition moved court delaying the process.

Speaking on standing committees to the opposition parties, the local bodies minister Saeed Ghani said that the government offered more than the expectation of the opposition. “Disrupting the house proceedings from opposition parties will only benefit the treasury as the ministers could evade queries in the house,” he said.

 

SPEAKER TERMS NAB PRISON AS LIVING IN INDIA

The speaker Sindh assembly while terming NAB prisons as feeling like living in India, said that whenever he is being brought to the assembly, it seems that he is transferred from India to New Pakistan.

He informed the house of being kept in the solitary confinement but said that he is not afraid of it and would face it bravely.  “We are the followers of Benazir who had taught us to deal with such situations,” he said.

PTI MPA’S ADJOURNMENT MOTION REJECTED

PTI lawmaker Sidra Imran tabled an adjournment motion pertaining to failure from provincial government in installing 700 RO plants in Thar area despite expenditure of Rs 8 billion. She said that despite tall claims, the people of Thar are unable to acquire clean drinking water.

The local bodies minister Saeed Ghani, however, rejected the claim from the lawmaker and said that there was no such scheme from the provincial government for Thar. “If opposition had carried out research on the topic then they could have avoided embarrassment,” he said and added that even the water commission had applauded the water schemes in the area from PPP led provincial government.

The speaker, while rejecting the motion, adjourned the house for Wednesday afternoon.