Ghost schemes, lack of health facilities, and severe water shortage dominated the post-budget session in Sindh Assembly on Friday.
During the speeches it seemed, there was a competition between PPP’s Sindh government and the PTI-led federal government as lawmakers belonging to both the parties were holding each other responsible giving arguments and counter-arguments in favor of their governance.
As the session started with the Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in a chair, the floor was given to Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) Shaharyar Mahar, who criticised the provincial government for its failure to control the deteriorating law and order situation in Shikarpur, and referring to the budget books said, “The government actions and policies are only confined to these fascinating books. Despite billions of rupees development budget every year, the schools and hospitals in rural areas are giving deserted looks where no one else, but stray dogs are roaming.”
Mahar, who belongs to Shikhapur district sharing startling facts one of the town committees in Shikarpur district said, “There are 22 computer operators in a town committee who draw the salaries every month, but not a single computer is so far purchased for years.”
Mahar alleged that incompetent police officers have always been appointed in Shikarpur and those who can obey the orders of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) electables and toe their line. When Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MPA Dr Imran Shah took the floor, he demanded to start the “third party audit” in the health department. “The government has taken around 11 years to complete a medical college in Mirpurkhas. The MRI and CT scan machine at Civil Hospital Karachi have been lying non-functional for the past three years now. Where does the money go?” he said, adding that the situation of Lyari General Hospital was also pathetic where patients and running pillar to post for medicines and other basic facilities.
The lawmaker noted that the health budget had been increased but no preventative measures were being taken. He said that three treatment plants in the city are not functional and the government is planning on setting up another combined affluent plant.
On the other hand, PPP’s Surendar Valasai lauded the “balanced budget” presented by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah with a total Rs1.4 trillion outlay and Rs329 development portfolio and said, “The opposition members should focus on the “selected regime” led by [PM] Imran Khan who has made the lives of common men miserable by imposing heavy taxes and bringing the storm of inflation in the country.” “For the first time in the history of Pakistan Imran Khan government has presented the exemplary budget in the country,” said PTI’s Saeed Afridi, while defending Centre.
“The situation is totally different here in Sindh where despite the allocation Rs132 billion for health in the outgoing year, the hospitals and dispensers are giving the look of ghost buildings,” he added, referring to acute malnutrition among women and children in Thar dessert and Kohistan areas of the province.
In the same vein, PTI’s Dewan Sachal raised the issue of discrimination against minorities and urged the provincial government to pass the bill against forced conversions, which has been pending since 2016.
On the other hand, Seemi Soomro, Aijaz Shah Bukhari and Hina Dastgeer from the treasury benches spoke in defense of the PPP government in Sindh and lauded the CM for presenting a ‘citizen’s budget’ while censuring PM Imran and his government for ruining the country’s economy. The speaker adjourned the session till today (Saturday).