KARACHI: Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani has to abruptly adjourn the house on Wednesday, when Sindh assembly witnessed a rumpus on corruption charges.
The sitting was ended amid hullabaloo, when treasury members strongly reacted to the remarks of PML-N member Aijaz Shah Sheerazi about alleged corruption in Sindh cabinet. Earlier, PTI member Hafeezuddin Syed also spoke about alleged corruption and mismanagement of provincial government, and the PPPP members specially their lady MPAs reacted sharply and tried to interrupt his speech. However, he managed to finish his speech. The tone of the speeches of MQM members was also seething, but the PPPP members tolerated them.
However, this was not the case with Aijaz Shah Sheerazi, as when the PPPP lady MPAs interrupted his speech also he spoke in loud tone and other members of opposition supported him, which resulted in abrupt adjournment of the sitting.
The rumpus began when PML-N MPA from Thatta Aijaz Ali Sherazi, while taking part in the general debate on Sindh budget complained about alleged massive corruption in Sindh government and urged Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah to convene his ministers in a mosque and take oath from them on Holy Quran that this year they would not indulge in corrupt practices while spending budgetary funds, as he claimed last year hardly 10 to 12 percent of budget had been spent properly.
On this parliamentary leader of PPPP and Sindh senior minister for education and literacy Nisar Ahmed Khuhro raised objection and requested the deputy speaker (chairing at that time) to expunge the remarks, which she ordered.
However, when Aijaz Ali Sheerazi resumed his speech, the lady MPAs of PPPP started thumping desks and chanted slogans of ‘Lota… Lota…Lota’ in chorus. On this opposition members and treasury members stood and tried to speak simultaneously. They also blamed and accused one another.
Provincial minister for information Sharjeel Memon blamed that Sherazi used some improper words for the lady members of his party which Sherazi denied.
Meanwhile, speaker Agha Siraj Durrani took the chair and tried to calm the house and failing in so he adjourned the house till Thursday, June 18 at 10:00am.
Interestingly, treasury members belonging to MQM remained neutral during the protest and did not support either PPPP or the opposition.
Earlier, taking part in the budget debate, Muhammad Hussain of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said the budgets are considered reflection of the government’s vision. He said the last year’s budget was focused on speedy uplift of rural areas and this year it was hoped that the government would give attention to the problems of urban areas, but the bureaucracy disappointed them. He said his party had hoped that the urban areas would get equitable funding the justice in the budget but it was not done. He said the important project of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was neglected, for which he urged to give adequate funds. He said the provincial government would have to own the mega projects of Karachi, which is the capital of Sindh.
He said the Punjab chief minister has given modern metro bus system to Lahore, but the rulers of Sindh made Karachi a ‘Chingchi City’. He said Lahore is now said to be at least 25 years ahead of Karachi in terms of urban uplift. He said the mass transit project of Karachi has been in doldrums since 1987 and it is yet to be approved. He said we have to hold serious talks with the federal government for getting due share of our funds.
He said the MPAs of MQM had suggested many schemes but sadly they were not made part of the budget book. He demanded that all districts of Sindh should be given equal share of budgetary resources.
Hafeezuddin Syed of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf said his friends in assembly go angry when he call they Waderas, so he appeals to what he called ‘Agricultural Elite’ to sympathetically consider the plights of poor Sindh people. He said if our agricultural elite is generous enough to donate the dirt of the tyres of their Land Cruiser vehicles to poor people of Sindh even it could change the destiny of poor Sindhi masses. He said there is massive corruption and mismanagement and there is not even one kilometre of road in the province in better shape.
He said the Sindh government has miserably failed in revenue collection. He said the Sindh chief minister had held investment road-shows in foreign countries spending huge sums from the government’s kitty, but not a single penny of direct foreign investment came to Sindh province.
He said the MPAs of even tiny opposition of Sindh assembly are being denied of development funds. He said if their funds were not released they would knock the door of court.
Sumeta Afzal and Kamran Khan of MQM also regretted that urban areas of Sindh were neglected in the provincial budget. They said the political reconciliation policy of the PPPP should have presence also in the provincial budget of Sindh. They demanded to withdraw what they called urban-centered taxes. They also demanded allocating funds for KCR and other important projects of Karachi.
Saeed Khan Nizamani of PML-F said the budget books were of good quality and bags in which they were kept were also of good quality but the budget itself had nothing aimed at for the welfare of poor masses. He said lawlessness is rife in Sindh. He said if the chief minister can visit different districts of Sindh without protocol he would salute him with both hands. He asked that political victimization of his party men should be stopped in district Sanghar.
Khairun Nisa Mughal of PPPP said despite challenges the chief minister of Sindh and his finance department has given a people-friendly budget to Sindh. She said sufficient funds have been allocated for important sectors of education, law and order and health. She said funds are also allocated for Thar coal and RO projects which would facilitate masses. She complained that the Federation was not releasing due fund share of Sindh province.
Kulsoom Chandio of PPPP also criticized the federal government for blocking funds’ release pertaining to Sindh province. She said still we have given a people-friendly budget in which special attention is given to improve law and order.
Dr Sikandar Shoro of PPPP said the landlords of Sindh should be facilitated as they are spending a lot due to different direct and indirect taxes. He said the profit margin of landlords is slim and no new tax should be levied on them.
Sindh chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah also attended the budget session and witnessed proceedings. The leader of the opposition Shaharyar Khan Mahar was also present.
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