KARACHI: The post-budget session in the Sindh Assembly witnessed a rumpus on Friday when Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MPA Heer Ismail Soho criticised Pakistan Muslim League – Functional (PML-F) and its federal ministers for keeping mum on the injustice meted out to Sindh.
“If I am not mistaken, Pir Sadaruddin Shah Rashdi is the federal overseas Pakistanis minister and Murtaza Jatoi is the production minister. They are enjoying their power but doing nothing for Sindh,” Soho said at the start of her speech, which irked the opposition members who protested in the House.
During the protest, Nusrat Seher Abbasi of PML-F called Soho a ‘looti’, which created uproar in the House. Soho, who recently left the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) – Pakistan and joined the PPP, said she wanted to expose those who staged dramas in the name of ‘peeri mureedi’. Annoyed over the protest by PML-F members, the speaker asked his staff to switch off the mics of Abbasi and the others and allowed Soho to speak.
Resuming her speech, she said, “They have criticised our leadership and must listen to us too.” Defending the budget, Soho said that the Sindh government has set a precedent by initiating development schemes in education, health and other sectors. “I request these protesting MPAs to convince their federal ministers to take up Sindh’s issues in Islamabad, rather than creating a fuss here.”
Mohammad Hussain of MQM-Pakistan criticised the PPP government and said it has always flouted merit and promoted the culture of corruption and nepotism. He said that for the last five years, the provincial government has been announcing special packages for various cities, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Larkana, but no tangible result has come out of it.
“Hardly 50% of the funds are released and 20% or 30% are utilised,” he said, questioning why the number of hepatitis, diabetes and HIV-AIDs patients are increasing despite the massive funds allocated to prevent and control these diseases. “This shows the negligence and incompetence of the government in bringing change,” he said.
Mohammad criticised the PPP government policies and said, “Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundation of discrimination when he introduced the quota system in Sindh at a 60/40% share in government jobs in urban and rural Sindh.”
He said that the PPP has supported Sindhi nationalism in the province, creating a soft corner for those who chant the ‘Sindhu Desh’ slogan in order to carve out another country from Pakistan.
Waqar Hussain Shah of MQM-Pakistan spoke on how the ruling PPP discriminated against opposition members by not releasing development funds. “Sindh is our motherland, but I ask why the Sindh government discriminates against us? Why didn’t the government release community development funds for my constituency?” Shah questioned, saying that he had submitted the schemes to the finance department, but the government turned them down.
People belonging to different ethnicities live in my area, but the government has failed to provide relief to them, he added. “Bhutto Nagar was built by the PPP’s founder. It is a Sindhi and Baloch dominated area, but unfortunately no one bothers to redress the people’s issues,” he said.
He said the Sindh government has spent Rs90 billion on Larkana, but its situation is worse than Mohen Jo Daro.
Bari Pitafi of PPP appreciated the Sindh government’s efforts in containing the law and order situation in his constituency in Ghotki district, which was once a highly volatile area. Not a single kidnapping for ransom incident has been reported in the area for the last five years now.
Naila Munir of MQM-Pakistan, who has recently joined Pak Sarzameen Party (PSP), said that the situation of government schools in Sindh is pathetic and not only are parents, but teachers are involved in promoting copy culture.
Tribute to Altaf Hussain
A few MQM MPAs thanked Altaf Hussain, whom they had earlier called a “traitor” and passed a resolution against him after his August 22 speech.
Munir said, “I am really thankful to Altaf bhai for giving me a chance and giving me an MPA ticket. This might be my last speech in this House”.
Mohammad, who was one of the movers of the resolution against Altaf after his August 22 speech, said, “This is my fifth tenure as an MPA and all credit goes to Altaf bhai, who provided me with a chance.”
Khurrum Sher Zaman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), while starting his budget speech, tendered an apology for his remarks against speaker Agha Siraj Durrani. He said that there are a total 42,342 schools in Sindh and half of them have no electricity, 15,000 schools have no potable water and 18,000 schools have no toilets.
“The chief minister has announced an emergency in education. I want to know where the emergency is,” he said, adding that most of parents are compelled to send their children to private schools. He requested the chief minister to resolve the inflation in the month of Ramazan.