KARACHI-Lawmakers from both treasury and opposition benches continued their muscle-flexing in the Sindh Assembly as on on Wednesday members of the PPPP and PTI came face to face after the latter’s MPA stated “Bilawal Kehti hai” instead of “Bilawal Kehta hai.”

PTI’s Saeed Ahmed Afridi, who was speaking in the house during the pre-budget discussion, took a jibe at the PPP chairman over his criticism on Prime Minister Imran Khan in the National Assembly and said, “Bilawal said that he would not let the PM enter the National Assembly,” adding that if so, the PTI would not let the Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah enter the Sindh Assembly. The situation went from bad to worse when Afridi, while mocking the PPP chief, said “Bilawal Kehti Hai” for second time in his speech. The PTI lawmaker’s remarks infuriated the treasury members who came very close to him and started protesting against what they called personal remarks against the leadership. PTI parliamentary leader Haleem Adil Shaikh and the PPP’s Mumtaz Jakhrani almost indulged into a brawl but they were later separated by the persuading members from both sides.

Afridi, who was hit with a headphone thrown out by the PPP woman lawmaker in the previous sitting, asked the speaker to check members, especially the female lawmakers, before entering the assembly hall. The PTI MPA’s these remarks too did not please the PPP members who asked him to apologize for hurling ‘inappropriate’ remarks against the women.

Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani remained unable to calm down the situation despite his repeated directives to the members for taking their seats. The continuous unpleasant scenario forced Durrani to adjourn the house till Thursday at 1pm.

HELMET IN THE HOUSE

Earlier, another PTI member Jamal Uddin Siddiqui brought helmet for his “safety from the angry PPP women lawmakers”, saying his colleague Saeed Afridi was hit with a headphone thrown out by Kulsoom Chandio of the PPP. “Yesterday, they threw a headphone, you don’t know what will they throw today that’s why I want to wear helmet for my safety,” said Siddiqui while seeking permission from Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari to wear it. His request, however, was turned down and the chair ordered to get helmet back as “it is not allowed in the house.” “You should refrain from hurling such things that force someone to throw something on you,” Rehana advised Siddiqui.

PRE-BUDGET DISCUSSION

Discussing the next fiscal year’s budget, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Rashid Khilji said that nothing is visible on ground despite expenditures of billions and trillions rupees during the past 11 years. “There is need to redress grievances of the Urban areas or else the people will be compelled to raise slogans that may hurt the PPP,” he stressed.

Shamim Mumtaz of the PPP said that the federal government did not release 100 percent share of funds of Sindh, terming the cut as “financial terrorism” towards the province. Hitting back at the PTI for calling her leadership ‘defected’, Shamim said that everybody knows that PTI was selected in the general elections 2018.

The PPP’s Heer Soho also came down hard on the federal government, stating that people raise hue and cry during the latter’s first nine months. “The common man is suffering due to incompetence of those who came out after being dry-cleaned. Rupee is devalued against the dollars and everybody is witnessing how PTI is deteriorating the country’s economy,” said Heer.

MQM-P Waseem Uddin Qureshi said that whenever the PPP is questioned about its alleged corruption, it starts retreating that a plot is being hatched to roll back 18th Constitutional Amendment. Speaking on overt use of unfair means during the recently concluded Matriculation examinations, Qureshi said the Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah had stated that the centre was not releasing their due share of funds that’s why the department is unable to control cheating in examination.

Grand Democratic Alliance Abdul Razzaq Rahimoon said that the representatives of Thar - including the PPP MPA - were not included in Thar Coal and Energy Board. The people of Thar are being neglected, said Rahimoon while demanding that representatives of Thar should be included in the board.