LAHORE - It was business as usual at the Punjab Assembly on the second day of budget debate on Tuesday.

The Opposition legislators criticised the government for further increasing the miseries of common persons while those on the treasury benches termed the budget a balanced one in the wake of worst economic situation.

With the exception of few incidents of uproars, hours long proceedings conducted by Speaker Parvez Elahi, Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari and member on panel of chairman Mian Shafi Muhammad in different phases remained smooth.

During the proceedings, Speaker brushed aside all rumors of possible failure of treasury in getting the budget passed. To the PML-N’s Awais Leghari’s suggestion of not supporting the budget till giving provincial status to Bahawalpur and South Punjab, Parvez Elahi said that such dreams would never materialize.

Session resumes today

To the assertion of Awais Leghari that a federal minister has got her sister appointed as director NECTA, the chair said that the Prime Minister reprimanded the cabinet member and got the decision undone. The PML-N legislator said that the masses dislike the present regime due to multiple reasons. He said that 50,000 elected local bodies representatives had been sent home by passing new act. Now, he said, baboos were managing affairs of local governments. He said that the government dissolved South Punjab Forest Company and introduced the project of planting trees through public-private partnership. He said that Rs50 billion had to be spent on planting trees. Like the past, he said, sugar mill mafia was looting the hapless growers. He said that mafia continued taking subsidy in billions and charging sugarcane rate at own will. He said changing VIP culture was merely eye wash. He claimed that 175 Rangers personnel and 850 policemen were performing protocol duty of PM Imran Khan.

PTI’s Faiz-ul-Hassan Chohan said that all anger of Opposition was due to the one reason that a soft spoken and polite man from a small tribe was holding the office of Chief Minister. Referring to Awais Leghari going out of the House after delivering speech, he said he (Awais) lacked courage to listen the reply. He said that Farooq Leghari (father of Awais Leghari) was all powerful but he did nothing for the South Punjab during his tenure. He said that there were reports of huge embezzlement in SPFC. He accused Awais Leghari of getting due share from the Company. Out of 180000 policemen, he said, 44000 were performing security of Sharifs. He held the previous regime responsible for all ills while raising the question that whether it was Modi, Haseena Wajid or Ashraf Ghani that ruled Punjab during the past 10 years. The remarks created an uproar in the House but prudent Speaker managed to restore order to enable vocal Chohan to continue bashing of previous rulers. He said that the previous regime allocated merely 17 per cent of ADP for South Punjab comprising 32 per cent population of the province. Even from that allocated funds, he said, Rs265 billion were later spent on Lahore. He said that this time 35 per cent of the development budget has been allocated for South Punjab. He said that the cabinet has approved that the said amount would be spent only on projects in South Punjab. He said that South Punjab has got due share in all sectors. He said that article of use taken by Hamza Shehbaz to the jail showed his needs. He has taken separate creams for face, hands, feet and body, cosmetics and two types of ispaghol husk.

Raja Yawar Kamal, Manazar Ranjha, Sabeen Gull, Khalid Warran, Rana Shehbaz, Makhdoom Muhammad Usman, Aswa Aftab, Sheikh Allauddin, Shahid Ahmed, Raheela Khadim Hussain, Zainab Umair, Chaudhry Iqbal, Gul;naz Shehzadi, Talat Fatimi, Dr Muzaffar, Tariq Gill and Azma Zahid Bokhari also participated in the budget debate.

On completion of time, the chair adjourned the session till Wednesday (today) at 3pm.