KARACHI - Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Khawaja Izharul Hassan termed the final budget of the incumbent provincial government disappointing and said that they had no way but to present tax free budget as nothing was left for taxation after levying it on 47 sectors in last budget.

“Only air is left to be brought under taxation after such broadening of the net,” he lamented during the speech on the last budget of the incumbent PPP government.

Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani was presiding over the assembly proceedings that were began 50 minutes late from the scheduled timings.  

The treasury members continued to disrupt the speech from the opposition leader and a heated argument also erupted between the MQM-P lawmakers and the PPP lawmakers.

Speaking on the budget speech, the opposition leader said that it could be believed that PPP did not carry out uplift projects in Karachi due to absence of its vote bank but what about Larkana and Lyari, which are its strongholds but were ruined during the PPP tenure.

“No new projects were included for Karachi under mega projects head and only two roads are constructed in the name of these projects,” he said adding it was the mayor’s responsibility to inspect city project not the CM who thinks that roaming on Karachi streets at night and eating Chai Paratha would win him votes from the city.

Speaking over water shortage in the city, Izhar said that city needs 1200 mgd water but is only provided with 450 mgd.

“The government is unable to bring even a single drop of water during its tenure under the K-IV project despite tall claims made by the incumbent local minister Jam Shoro and the former minister Sharjeel Memon,” he said adding that dozens of KWSB head were replaced but the claims of meters at water hydrants were yet to be fulfilled.  He admitted of giving jobs to the party workers and Karachi citizens in water board and said that the government was only opposing this as they were given without taking any bribes in return.

“We are blamed for passing bills in city government through hooliganism but what is done in the provincial assembly on the basis of majority is not less than that,” he said.

Speaking on transport department, the MQM-P leader said that the chief minister did not mention transport department in his speech as he had nothing to say for the department.

“We were listening to the bus projects under different colors name but even after 10 years no new project is yet to be launched, “he said adding that this was for the first time they had listened to the ghost buses.  He praised the transport projects in Lahore and said that it was sad to see that green line bus and double Decker buses projects were operational in Lahore but Karachiites are still travelling in dilapidated buses.

He also raised the plights of the farmers in the province who protested in the province for the bardana and against the sugar mills owners.

“Rs8 billion was earmarked for the farmers in budget last year but no funds were allocated in this budget,” he said and asked as to where had these funds gone.

He further asked for funds utilisation under community development programme and said that planning and development department only had funds details of 2011 under this head while for rest of the years funds are being issued but details are not there.  The opposition leader further thanked media for cooperation in raising their voice and said that they had learned a lot from the experience of Syed Sardar Ahmed and the incumbent chief minister Murad Ali Shah.

He further blamed the Sindh government for cracking a deal with the federal government for showing the Karachi population less in census.   Speaking on the occasion, former chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that the budget for the next year is balanced and was prepared keeping in view the ground realities.

“We promised to give jobs and it is on our credit that we gave away 300,000 jobs to the people in the province during past eight years,” he said.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro lambasted the PML-F leaders for not supporting the Sindh cause in the federal government and said that the people of the Sindh province are still awaiting the new NFC award which is due since 2015 but every year they receive cuts in their funds rather than the due share under new NFC.

“Punjab progressed due to more funds allocated to it but the Sindh province despite less funds from the federal government, raised its resources on its own and increased the development budget to more than Rs 300 billion,” he said adding that they would once again come in the government on the basis of their performance.  Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza and the law minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjhar also spoke on the occasion and criticized the MQM-Pakistan for their involvement in killing people in the Karachi.

Meanwhile, the Tuesday budget session would witness final speech from the chief minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah on the budget followed by cut motions from the lawmakers.