KARACHI - The Sindh Assembly on Monday started general discussion on budget for fiscal year 2019-20 wherein the treasury members termed it people friendly while the opposition lambasted the government over its ‘apathy’ to resolve longstanding issues of the province.

The discussion was began with the Pakistan People’s Party lawmaker Dr Sohrab Khan Sarki who said that the provincial government allocated ‘huge’ amount for development portfolio under which many works would be carried out across Sindh.

Sarki was of the view that the federal government in its budget didn’t allocate much amount for three health institutions—National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre and National Institute of Child Health—it taken over from the provincial government. “The Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced Rs 162 billion package for Karachi but fixed only Rs 12b in the budget,” he added.

Abdul Razzaque Rahimoon of the Grand Democratic Alliance came down hard on the provincial government and said the PPP always decried that the centre didn’t release its due share of funds but huge amount but was unable to utilise the available amount. “Every year, billions of rupees either get lapsed or transferred to abroad,” said Rahimoon. He added that the PPP claimed to have carried out many development works but children were still dying of malnutrition.

Centre fixed only Rs 12b for Karachi

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf legislator Bilal Ahmed the infrastructure of Sindh has been destroyed during 11-year term of the PPP. He said the issues cannot be resolved until the powers were devolved at grassroots level, adding that the provincial finance commission was essential for the development of each district. “The provincial government has allocated around Rs 6b for development of Karachi, the city contributes major chunk of Sindh economy,” he added.

Waseem Qureshi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan raised ‘artificial’ water scarcity issue in his budget speech and demanded the Local Government Minister to step down over his ‘failure’ to ensure fair distribution of water in the city. There was shortage of water in Karachi but now the Hub dam is filled with water and every area of the city could get benefit but only with fair distribution, he said. Qureshi was of the view that the provincial government was deliberately creating water crises in order to divert the people attention from its corruption.

RESOLUTION CONDEMNS

DECLARING SPEAKER CHAMBER SUB-JAIL

Raja Azhar Khan of the PTI carried a placard inscribed with ‘Qedi Number PS-97’ during his speech, hitting back at the provincial government to declare Speaker’s chamber sub-jail. Earlier, the PTI MPA Kurram Sherzaman submitted a resolution to condemn this act of the government.

“This House condemns the Sindh Government for declaring the Sindh Assembly Speaker’s chamber as a sub-jail to accommodate their NAB-accused Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani. This decision by the Sindh Government is a show of contempt to this August House and the people of Sindh. This is completely unacceptable that the highest and most honourable place is now a sub-jail in order to accommodate an accused person.

This House demands that the Sindh Government take back its declaration and that Agha Siraj Durrani refrain from bringing further dishonour and embarrassment to the Sindh Assembly and immediately resign as a Speaker,” reads a resolution.