KARACHI: Complaints of water shortage, inflation, rising corruption in the education department and the deteriorating law and order in the province ringed throughout the Sindh Assembly session on Monday.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Sindh Information Technology Minister Raza Haroon said that hefty developmental funds were allocated in the past four years, but the development is still not visible. He advised the chief minister and the finance minister to release budgetary funds from the first month, so that the fruit can be reaped by the people in the fifth year.
Sindh Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon of the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) reminded the house that former prime minister Shaukat Aziz and former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim were elected from Thar but they ignored their area. He said that Rs2 billion worth development works have been initiated in his constituency by the current government.
National Peoples Party’s (NPP) Arif Mustafa Jatoi was of the view that people are not interested in the budget, but the benefits they receive. Terming the Sindh budget as “good overall”, he said that inflation has increased manifold during the present government’s tenure. During the past four years, the prices of flour have increased by 60 per cent, tomatoes by 50 per cent, potatoes 80 per cent and that of onion by 100 per cent, Jatoi said. The price of cement has increased by 50 per cent, he added.
“The announcement of 20,000 jobs may only have a slight impact as the province’s population has witnessed an increase of at least 1.3 million this year. Every year the government promises to end the energy crisis by December 31, which may never come,” opined the NPP member.
MQM’s provincial minister for youth affairs, Faisal Subzwari, said that though allocations for the social sector and infrastructure have been increased, but there is a need of major policy shift.
Opposing the establishment of the proposed Zulfikarabad city in Thatta, Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid’s Shah Hussain Shirazi feared that the natives will become a minority due to the possible influx of outsiders in the new city.
Pakistan Muslim League-Functional’s Sindh Science and Technology Minister Jam Madad Ali complained that his district has been deprived of irrigation water at the cultivation time of Kharif crops.
He said that his requests to the chief minister, irrigation minister and Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority have fallen on deaf ears. “I am now tired of complaining. I think time has come now to either stage a sit-in inside the assembly or protest outside it,” he lamented.
The irrigation minister assured the house that the water situation will improve within the next four to five days.
During his speech on budget, Sindh Local Government Minister Agha Siraj Durrani started lambasting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan. He said that Imran had supported the referendum of General Pervez Musharraf and now he is trying to make an alliance with the nationalists in Sindh. “He has started ‘tabla politics’ by introducing music at public gatherings,” said Durrani.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.