LAHORE   -    The Punjab Assembly on Friday passed the supplementary budget for the outgoing fiscal year with a majority, amid uproar by opposition legislators.

The House approved all 40 Supplementary Demands for Grants to the tune of more than Rs90 billion, rejecting cut motions moved by the opposition legislators.

The session started one hour and 14 minutes behind the scheduled time with Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair.

Law Minister Raja Basharat’s offer of bringing a joint resolution for giving justice to Model Town tragedy caused uproar in the House. The Opposition legislators stood up, gathered in front of Speaker’s podium and tore apart copies of agenda. Treasury legislators also come close to the Speaker’s podium apparently to save the chair from possible assault. The House presented looks of a fish market as Opposition legislators chanted slogans of ‘Go Niazi Go’, ‘Aleema Baji Chor Hai’, ‘Haey Mehangai’, ‘Bijli Mehangi’, ‘Petrol Menga’. Treasury members responded with the slogans of ‘Chor Machai Shor’, ‘Nawaz Sharif Chor Hai’.

Amid chaos, the chair used the provision of guillotine to start taking sense of the House on Supplementary Demands for Grants one by one through voice vote.

After the Hose approved all 40 Supplementary Demands for Grants, Opposition Leader Hamza Shehbaz moved out. The Opposition legislators also went out of ther House.

Before giving floor to the Chief Minister, the chair remarked that he wanted the Opposition Leader to speak on the budget but he had left.

The CM delivered speech in a better atmosphere as majority of the Opposition had already left the House. Treasury legislators, however, lauded the CM with desk thumping and slogans during his speech.

Sardar Usman Buzdar said that the government has implemented Prime Minister’s austerity policy in the budget. He said that expenses of CM Office have been decreased by 58 percent. He said that the government has set a new example by increasing recurring expenditures only by 2.7 per cent. “10-20 percent decrease in non-salary, operational, M&R and other heads is a proof of practical measures for austerity”, he said, adding, unnecessary expenditures like repair and maintenance of personal residences in the name of security have been ended. “Number of security officials has been decreased from 2000 to 500. I don’t have any camp office, private residence or any other office in Lahore unlike past traditions. We are the custodian of exchequer and public money will be spent on public welfare”, he said. He said that development outlay has been increased by 47 percent. Instead of personal projection projects, human resource development and social uplift of the masses has been focused. He said that Bahimat Program for senior citizens, Hum Qadam program for disabled people and Sarprast program for widows and orphans were steps toward making Pakistan a welfare state. Similarly, Musawat program has been introduced for hapless segments besides introducing Nai Zindgi program for the restoration of women suffering from acid throwing. He said out of total allocation for ADP, 46 percent was for health. “We are constructing nine new hospitals. Sehat Insaf Cards will be provided throughout the province. He said that 1500 kilometer long farm to market roads would be constructed. He said that the government has set up shelter homes in Lahore, Rawalpindi and other districts for homeless passengers and this would be extended to divisional, district and tehsil levels in phases. He said that 177 rest houses have been opened for public which would promote tourism besides generating revenue. The target of 25 lac homes has been fixed under Naya Pakistan Housing Scheme during the next five years. He said that six new universities would be set up including Baba Guru Nanak University in Nankana Sahib. He said that 35 percent development budget has been fixed for southern Punjab. This budget would not be utilized for any other purpose which was practice in the past, he said. He said that instructions have been issued to improve the facilities for prisoners at jails. He said that 1000 prisoners have been got released by paying around Rs280 million fine and Diyat. He said that the scope of rescue 1122 would be extended to sub-divisional headquarters level. He said that agriculture policy has been formed for the first time in the history of the province. Agri credit cards would be given to the farmers. He said that mew labour policy has been formulated and the law has been introduced for the safety of workers and domestic servants. New policy has been formulated for the allotment of houses to industrial workers in labour colonies. He said that sports calendar has been formed. He said that allowance for engineers, doctors and policemen has been enhanced. “Punjab Assembly has taken lead in legislation. I have given respect and honor to elected representatives. The assembly members are CM of their constituencies; I am standing with them and you enjoy more respect than before”, he said.

Earlier, Khalil Tahir Sandhu, Ch Iqbal, Malik Ahmed Khan and Iftikhar Chichar opposed the supplementary budget, saying it would be injustice with public.

Raja Basharat said that Usman Buzdar has not made a single Abid Boxer or Mansha Bomb during his tenure as Chief Minister.

“Usman Buzdar neither keeps any boxer to kill the innocent citizens in fake police encounters nor any bomb to grab the precious properties of the helpless people. We have neither intention nor policy to victimize the opponents through a politicized police”, he said. He said that labeling Police as corrupt was a big injustice. He said that the purpose of police was to defend public life and property. “Police constable performs duties often round the clock. Policemen are usually targets of terrorists. Data Derbar incident last month is an example”, he said, adding, those who lost lives during duty should be honoured. He said that positive behavior of a government creates positive attitude among the police. He said that most of the child abuse cases were reported during the PML-N tenure. He said that the government responded responsibly on the Sahiwal incident. “We responded immediately in accordance with the law and satisfied the aggrieved families. We have no example of brutality inflicted during last government. We are trying that the victims must get justice,” he said. He said that committees were working at federal and provincial levels for bringing police reforms. He criticized the N-League government for not making recruitment on 22000 vacant posts in Police. He regretted that the former government also destroyed a remarkable institution of Patrolling Police which maintained law and order on roads efficiently across the province.

On completion of agenda, the chair prorogued the session.