LAHORE: The treasury benches demanded the formation of a commission to probe the Jati Umra properties of PML-N’s top leadership and suggested that the same be confiscated and sold. The MPAs from the ruling party urged that the money from the sale be distributed among the poor.
Meanwhile, the opposition said the PTI was cornering the poor masses through what it termed as an “IMF-based provincial budget”.
On the third day of the General Discussion on the Annual Budget for the year 2019-20, lawmakers from both the treasury and opposition gave their suggestions to make the budget free of loopholes.
The discussion was continuing smoothly, but suddenly turned into another fiery exchange when PTI’s Sadia Sohail Rana, quoting a news item, said the Jati Umra properties of the PML-N leadership were constructed using state money. She demanded the formation of a commission to probe the matter.
This irked the opposition lawmakers who created pandemonium over her remarks. Panel Chairman Mian Shafi, who was chairing the house, failed to maintain decorum. However, PA Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari entered the house and snubbed the treasury’s lawmakers for the chaotic atmosphere.
He told the MPAs that they had become a laughing stock, adding that the world’s eyes were on this house so it was in the best interest of all to maintain decorum.
Pakistan Muslim League’s (PML) MPA Ehsanul Haque Chaudhary of Bahawalpur demanded that the government convert Lal Suhanra National Park into a safari park. He also asked for a committee to probe the illegal cutting of trees in the massive park.
PPP’s Mumtaz Ali from Rahim Yar Khan-XII, meanwhile, said 80% of his area did not have drinking water and people had to travel for six to eight kilometres to get the commodity. He said a similar percentage was living without gas and 70% of the people were without electricity. He made it clear that if the funds were not provided to him, he would gather his voters to get the money.
PTI’s Shahbuddin Khan demanded a scheme for farmers of Mianwali, Bhakkar, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, DG Khan, Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan. Under it, homes and agricultural land could be given to them in light of “Guzara Allowance”.
PML-N’s Mian Jalil also gave proposals to the provincial government, saying poor people dying of starvation should be given free wheat and the expenses of providing the commodity should be put on the shoulders of those living luxurious lives.
He said the federal government should stop the import of food and makeup items to make matters more balanced. He also suggested keeping a check on private hospitals and schools which are working to earn profits rather than provide services to the poor.
Malik Arshad, from the same party, said it was astonishing that the finance minister did not bother to discuss law and order, minorities and irrigation in his speech. He accused PTI of being blind to the problems of the poor.
Meanwhile, PTI’s Ashraf Rind, applauding the chief minister’s services, said all sitting MPAs of the treasury are his ‘special assistants’. Later, the deputy speaker adjourned the House till 3pm on Thursday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 20th, 2019.
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