The Sindh Assembly saw another heated war of words between the members of opposition and treasury benches as they criticised each other on Monday for failing to fulfill their promises and carry out development work.
Opposition members hit out at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)-led Sindh government for not providing any relief to the masses and "increasing the non-development budget by 300 per cent over the last 11 years, instead of focusing on development initiatives."
"They [the PPP] have created a pathetic situation in the province," remarked Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI's) Arsalan Taj.
During a debate on the expenditure of development funds, he claimed the government had appointed "corrupt bureaucrats" in the finance department, who were looting Sindh's resources.
"The situation is such that even the finance secretary has entered a plea bargain with the National Accountability Bureau and continue to serve on his post," he remarked, further claiming that the province's entire budget was being spent on just "500 babus."
Meanwhile, health and education facilities here remain non-functional and those that are functional have been handed over to non-governmental organisations, decried Taj.
He again lambasted the provincial government for failing to properly utilise the development budget and focusing on non-development expenses.
Along similar lines, Adeel Ahmed of the PTI lamented that the Sindh chief minister had been holding the portfolio of the finance department for the past 13 years.
He further decried that the provincial government never bothered to take opposition members into confidence when making a budget.
In response to these remarked, PPP's Zulfiqar Shah said the Centre had failed to deliver and none of the PTI members would be able to win even a union council seat in the future.
He also requested the Sindh government to establish a university and a healthcare facility under the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases in Mirpurkhas.
Following that, Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani announced that the debate on budget expenditure was to continue over the next five days and adjourned the session.
Earlier, he announced that given the Covid-19 situation, just 20 percent of provincial assembly members were to attend assembly sessions in person in the coming days and directed staff ask people in the gallery to leave the session.
"Rest can join the session online," he said.
He added that no one was to be allowed to attend the sessions on a guest pass, as well as the passes for bureaucrats and government officials. However, relevant officials whose services would be required for proceedings would be allowed to attend assembly sessions, the speaker said.
The decision was finalised during a meeting of the parliamentary members of the Sindh Assembly.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 27th, 2021.
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