As lawmakers on either sides of the aisle in Sindh Assembly fail to find common ground - bickering continued for the sixth session on Monday - two lawmakers of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party took the house by surprise as they highlighted governance failures in their respective constituencies in Jamshoro and Tharparkar and expressed dismay over the poor performance of the health and education departments. The lawmakers also pointed to the failures of the federal government in their constituencies and appealed to the Sindh government to take action to rectify both.
In his budget speech, PPP's Gianchand Israni, who was elected to the provincial assembly from PS-81 Jamshoro-II and hails from tehsil Thano Bula Khan, made an ardent appeal to the PPP-led Sindh government to ensure provision of basic facilities in the area that he said has been sidelined for a year now.
The usually soft spoken MPA laid out some startling facts about his constituency and requested more time from the speaker to do so. "Our area comprises of 5,367 square kilometers. There is only one taluka hospital and it is deprived of all basic facilities," he said adding that there is no special cadre doctor working at the hospital and the posts of gynecologist, child specialist, and orthopedic surgeon have been lying vacant for years. "The maternity home and operation theatre have been closed since the hospital was established," said Israni, who has served as the wildlife and religious affairs minister in the past tenures of the PPP government in Sindh.
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With regards to education, the lawmaker pointed out that 64 out of 160 primary schools in his tehsil are shut. "The quality of education is the worst as our children cannot compete in pre-entry tests for university level admissions," he added, referring to the schools that are functional.
He demanded of the Sindh chief minister to ensure the provision of health and education facilities in his constituency.
The MPA also took strong exception to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government in the Centre for its failure to ensure electricity and gas facilities. "I request Sindh energy minister to approach the federal government on our behalf and to equip our area with these facilities too."
Earlier, PPP's Faqir Sher Muhammad Bilalani, who was elected from PS-56 Tharparkar III also came down hard on the Sindh and federal governments for the lack of power, water and education facilities in his constituency. "I request the government to provide high schools in each union council of Islamkot because the education facility in our area is not up to the mark."
At the outset of the session, the house witnessed a commotion yet again as treasury and opposition lawmakers gave heated arguments in favour and against the budget announced by the provincial government for the fiscal year 2021-22.
In a fiery speech Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) MPA Nusrat Seher Abbasi criticised not only the budget, but also the PPP leadership and the Sindh chief minister for laying the foundation for corruption and bad governance in the province. "Minor children, especially young girls are sexually assaulted and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is giving statements that Sindh is on the path of progress. No any woman is safe here, but for them [the PPP leadership] everything is excellent."
Every PPP MPA defends the National Institute of Cardio Vascular Diseases (NICVD) but no one dares to speak about the corruption prevalent there and in other hospitals across Sindh, continued Abbasi.
"They are talking about the meritocracy, I want to inform this house that [the concept of] merit is being killed by the Sindh Public Service Commission which has become an office of the political party and works under its line," Abbasi added.
The GDA MPA continued past her time, prompting Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to have her mike switched off. This led to PTI and GDA lawmakers protesting in front of his podium. The speaker ignored the commotion and gave the floor to PPP's Munawar Wassan, who hurled insults at Abbasi and lauded the PPP government's performance in his constituency - PS-27 Khairpur-II.
The session was adjourned till today (Tuesday).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2021.