Balochistan Assembly: new government, deficit budget, fresh obstacles

Opposition benches want higher allocation for development projects in budget


Our Correspondent May 21, 2018
A view of the Balochistan Assembly. PHOTO: FILE

QUETTA: Once in the government, now in the opposition, Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) MPAs are creating quite a stir in the Balochistan Assembly. They have raised strident objections over the amount allocated for development schemes in the provincial budget for fiscal year 2018-19. Not just that, they recently even disrespected a fellow MPA Shahida Rauf for no rhyme or reason.

During the budget session chaired by Speaker Rahila Hameed Khan Durrani, National Party’s Aslam Bizenjo expressed concern that the budget deficit had reached a whopping Rs61 billion, while the amount allocated for development projects was just a mere Rs21 billion.

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He accused the provincial government of allocating a huge chunk of the PSDP funds for development projects in their favourite constituencies.

“Billions of rupees have been released for some favourable constituencies while other areas are deliberately being neglected,” said Aslam Bizenjo, adding that the government was in a hurry while finalising the provincial budget.

Shedding light over the matter, Awami National Party’s Engineer Zmarak Khan Achakzai said, “For almost five years, PkMAP and NP have ruled the province. By sitting on opposition benches they didn’t receive any amount to carry on development projects in their constituencies. They allocated billions of rupees for themselves when they were sitting on treasury benches since 2013, but today when they are sitting on the opposition side, they are yelling.”

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He said the current opposition leader was making plans for the last provincial budget, but the government turned into opposition.

Criticising PkMAP, NP and the PML-N government in Balochistan, Achakzai said, “The opposition leader has claimed of mega development projects in Balochistan during their rule, but in reality zero development exists on the ground.”

On criticism by NP’s Aslam Bizenjo over resignation tendered by adviser to CM on finance, the speaker said, “Balochistan chief minister is sitting with us and he is the head of the finance department.”

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Applauding CM Bizenjo and his government’s efforts in finalising the people-friendly budget, JUI-F’s Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran said, “When Dr Abdul Malik Baloch had been sworn in as chief minister, I had pointed out the law and order issue in Barkhan. Since then I have been under house arrest and the people of my constituency have been demanding my release instead of development projects. Sanaullah Zehri and Quddus Bizenjo have accepted my development schemes and I appreciate their interest in my constituency.”

JUI-F member Mufti Gulab strongly condemned the target killing of their leader Maulvi Habibullah Mengal and urged the government to arrest the culprits behind the heinous crime.

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