KARACHI - As the Sindh Assembly session approaching final days to approve the annual budget of next fiscal year, the House witnessed empty benches from both sides – the government and the opposition - in its seventh sitting of the budget session on Monday.
The House met with speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the Chair at 10:50am on Monday, suspended the question-hour to take up the budget discussion.
The Speaker told the House that the last two days of the budget session would be held at the new assembly building which has more seating capacity. However, the discussion on the budget started with thin attendance, showing the lack of interest of the lawmakers in the financial matters.
Even, the members who earlier delivered their speeches on the budget not returned again, while the house witnessed almost empty seats as only 42 MPAs from 168 strength of the Assembly witnessed present in the house after resumption of the proceedings at 3.30pm after break.
In the thin attendance, PPP’s only 31 MPAs, MQM’s only 5, PML-F’s 6 and PML-N’s two members were present the evening as PTI’s Hafeezuddin came and left the House early.
Meanwhile, Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Memon came down hard on the opposition as well as the MQM for their criticism on the Sindh budget, saying our friends demand for more tax on the agriculture but they don’t know this sector was already overtaxed.
He said the agriculture sector was the only sector in which grower gives half share of the income to the peasants, seeking the name of any industry which give half of its profit to the labourers    .
He informed the House that the KPK province collects agriculture tax above the income of Rs0.4 million but the Sindh government collects it above the income of Rs80,000. He demanded relief and reduction in the existing rate of 15 per cent rate of agriculture tax.
Memon came down hard on the Opposition parties of PML-F and PML-N, alleging that they blame on the government of selling the jobs which is ridiculous.
Without taking her name, the information minister said a lady MPA from the opposition benches got job for her husband in last tenure so she should tell the House how much money she gave the government in return of this job.
On his remarks, the opposition benches irked and demanded the minister to take the name of the member. The minister continued his disclosure that opposition members criticise on the government and budget but in the lobby of the assembly they give applications for transfer and posting of officers on their choice.
Memon informed the House that some opposition members are continuously requesting the government ministers to facilitate them in joining the ruling PPP.
The minister’s remarks again angered the opposition MPAs, who demanded the minister to take the name of that member who requested to join the PPP. The information minister said the 10-party alliance of opposition had miserably failed in the last elections as people of Sindh rejected them by voting the PPP in majority seats.
The opposition and ruling PPP’s MPAs exchange harsh words and alleged each other for involving in the rigging and ‘Thappa mafia’ in the last elections.