KARACHI: The opposition parties unanimously rejected the Sindh budget presented on Monday, terming it an ‘anti-people’ budget.
However, the opposition exhibited division in the budget session, as Pakistan Muslim League Functional (PML-F), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) protested and later staged a walkout but the largest opposition party in the Sindh Assembly, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), chose not to follow the path of agitation.
The opposition parties, excluding the MQM, chanted slogans of ‘no no’, ‘go go’ and ‘shame shame’ during the budget speech.
“People want relief and the government has failed to deliver, so we reject this budget,” PML-F parliamentary leader Nand Kumar said while speaking to the media outside the assembly.
Another leader of the party, Sheharyar Mahar, said the same Pakistan Peoples Party minister has been presenting the budget for the last nine years, adding that this time the CM presented nothing but a copy pasted figures. “They are talking about employment, but unfortunately every job is being sold at a fixed rate,” Mahar accused. He further accused the government of having failed to eliminate ghost schools and reopen hundreds of non-functional basic health centres.
Criticising the government, PTI MPA Khurrum Sher Zaman said, “Chief minister is busy with photo sessions”. He added that the province cannot be developed with the face-lift of a few roads in Karachi. When asked about MQM’s pacifist attitude, he said MQM was the major opposition party and its leaders should inform the media why they remained silent over the anti- people budget presented by the government.
Having opted not to join the other parties in protest during the budget presentation, the MQM, nevertheless, rejected the budget. Opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan said the budget has not given any relief to the people. “We have carefully listened to the CM’s speech and have come to the conclusion that it is an anti-people budget,” Hasan said. He also rejected the government’s claim that there are no new taxes in the budget.
Hasan also criticised the chief minister for trying to usurp the powers of the Karachi mayor by bringing powers of municipal bodies under his administrative control.
Shafi Jamot of PML-N said all indicators in the last nine years reveal that poverty has increased and the government has failed to deliver. “Health, education, transport and energy are the sectors where the government has shown no performance,” he said, adding that the ministers are trying to bungle funds rather than working on development.
On the other hand, Information Minister Nasir Shah, while speaking to the media, called it a historic budget. “We have not imposed any new taxes,” he said, adding that the opposition parties were criticising the budget as they had nothing constructive in their agenda.