KARACHI - In the past, male lawmakers belonging to both treasury and opposition in Sindh Assembly indulged into a scuffle and cursed each other but now women lawmakers went below the belt and uttered personal remarks which were expunged by the chair.

While responding to the Grand Democratic Alliance Nusrat Sehar Abbasi’s remarks about Pakistan Peoples Party’s leaders the other day, visibly furious Shamim Mumtaz said that she also knew many things to expose some of the opposition members. Her remarks irked the opposition lawmakers who started protesting with the PPP members shouting. Both sides accused each other and hurled remarks which could not be heard in the press gallery. The assembly turned into a fish market when both sides of the aisle began protesting and shouting, forcing the Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to adjourn the house.

Earlier the situation took ugly turn when Education Minister Saeed Ghani and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan legislator Javed Hanif exchanged harsh words. Hanif, who was given floor for debating the budget, became visibly irritated when Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani interrupted him and switched off his microphone telling him that his allocated time of 10 minutes for debating the budget had ended.

The speaker told the MQM-P member not to give him dictation when the former insisted to have some more time for his speech. “It was decided with the consent of parliamentary leaders of all parties that every member will have 10 minutes to discuss the budget in the house,” Durrani said while reminding Hanif that he had already consumed 15 minutes.

The information minister utterances, which were not audible in the press gallery, however, added fuel to the fire as the disgruntled opposition MPA aggressively moved towards treasure benches before other members from the both sides rushed to avoid any scuffle.

MQM-P member Mangla Sharma appeared so dismayed over the situation in the house that she said that the hullabaloo had eventually became a parliamentary tradition in the assemblies.

In their budget speeches, majority of the members from both the sides mainly focused on defending and lauding their respective leadership and had little to say on the provincial budget.

Earlier, Javed Hanif of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said that the budget was illegal as it was presented in contravention with Article 140-A of the constitution. He said the provinces had devolved financial resources to the local tiers of the government. He said the budget was also presented in violation of Sindh Local Government Act 2013 as it made it mandatory for establishment for Provincial Finance Commission.

“Whenever the federation wants to use its authority in Sindh, the PPP terms it an attack on the province but now they are holding the centre responsible for failure to tackle the Covid-19 and locusts while the stunting rate in Sindh is 42 percent, children are still dying in Thar and we have higher numbers hepatitis and HIV patients, Sindh government is claiming to combat the novel coronavirus,” he added.

Terming the budget gimmicks of statistics, the MQM-P lawmaker said that the provincial government showed Rs. 18 billion deficit in the budget but the actual deficit financing amounted to Rs. 124 billion. He explained that said the budget document showed Rs.20 billion borrowing from banks in the receipts while Rs 30 billion were carry on cash savings and Rs 31 billion would be generated by selling out the state land.

Burhan Chandio of Paksitan Peoples Party Criticised the federal government for “miserable” performance and said that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) went into negative for the first time in the country’s history during the rule of PTI. He said that 18th constitutional amendment was a binding force between federation and its units. “Sindh knows how to get its share and we will get it,” he added.

Mangla Sharma of MQM-P said most of working women were affiliated with beauty salons that had been closed since imposition of lockdown. “Beauty parlours are run by women as well majority of staffers there are also female who are finding it difficult to feed their families,” she added.

Mangla demanded that beauty parlours should be immediately opened as the male hairdressers and salons were operating.

Hailing certain aspects of the budget, she said that raise up to 10 percent in government employees’ salaries and health risk allowance was very commendable. She said that people who were in self-isolation were left alone.

The Grand Democratic Alliance MPA Shheryar Khan Mahar came down hard on his own federal government for ‘lethargy’ attitude towards anti-corruption measures in Sindh. “Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to take strict action against corrupt practices in Sindh but nothing is visible on ground,” he added.

He said people of the province were facing load-shedding of electricity, adding that the PTI was not going to win from Sindh in future, if it didn’t take its issues seriously.

PTI’s Sidra Imran termed the budget as just a ‘copy and paste’ saying that it didn’t reflect necessities of the province. “Millions of children are out of school. As many as 83 percent of the people do not have drinking water,” she said and added that 65 percent of the revenue of the province was coming from the federation.

“The budget did not reflect as to how many new hospitals were built, how many new classrooms were established,” she said and added that provincial government could spend only 33 percent of the annual development budget which showed how serious the provincial government was for the uplift.

Sarwat Fatima of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan said that Sindh government was known for making legislation but it had failed to implement its own laws. The provincial government had made considerable improvement in three hospitals—National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases, National Institute of Child Health and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre—but it would be left with nothing to show for its performance, if these hospitals were taken over by the federal government.

Sarwat was of the view that provincial government didn’t earmark amount for any mega project for Karachi. She said they were left way behind in transport sector as the PPP-led Sindh government failed to bring in even a bus in last 12 years.

PPP’s Arbab Lutufullah, Syed Zulfikar Shah, Nida Khuhro, Shamim Mumtaz, Gayan Chand Israni, Syed Shah Hussain Shah Sheerazi, Shahid Tahim, Ghazala Sial and Aijaz Shah Bukhari while PTI’s Dua Bhutto, Sheryar Shar, Shahnawaz Jadoon and Deewan Sachand; and GDA’s Waryam Faqeer participated in debate.

Others who also spoke included PPP’s Arbab Lutufullah, Syed Zulfikar Shah, Nida Khuhro, Shamim Mumtaz, Gayan Chand Israni, Syed Shah Hussain Shah Sherazi, Shahid Tahim, Ghazala Sial and Aijaz Shah Bukhari; PTI’s Dua Bhutto, Sheryar Shar, Shahnawaz Jadoon and Deewan Sachand; and GDA’s Waryam Faqeer.