Finance minister's unpreparedness draws jeers in PA

Opposition points out crucial information was missing from budget documents

Rana Yasif March 30, 2024
Punjab Assembly. PHOTO: APP


Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman's unpreparedness prompted laughter in the Punjab Assembly on Friday. The minister's request to adjourn the session due to lack of readiness for Opposition queries sparked amusement among the benches.

Opposition members heavily criticised the provincial government for passing a budget without transparent expense details.

They pointed out that crucial information was missing from budget documents, raising concerns about expenditure transparency. However, the treasury defended its actions, stating that all necessary details had been provided and the Opposition lacked comprehension.

The situation became amusing when Deputy Speaker Zaheer Iqbal Channar, after allowing ample time for Opposition discourse on the supplementary budget for 2022-23, called upon the finance minister to conclude discussions.

The finance minister, admitting his unpreparedness, swiftly requested an adjournment until Saturday, citing his inability to fully address Opposition queries.

In response to the Opposition's laughter, the minister reassured that such requests were not uncommon, and he anticipated having a comprehensive response by Saturday.

Opposition leader Ahmed Khan Bhachar remarked that adjourning the session for the finance minister's concluding speech would not disrupt proceedings.

The House was adjourned until March 30 at 10 am, following the deputy speaker's decision.

During the session, lawmakers highlighted budgetary weaknesses, particularly in sectors like education and health, which they claimed were neglected by the government.

They expressed frustration over missing details in budget documents, questioning the government's transparency and accountability.

Opposition leader Malik Ahmed Khan Bhachar also criticised the government's tardiness in starting House proceedings, pointing out a significant delay in the session's commencement.

He questioned the rationale behind fixing early sessions if the government failed to start them on time.

Regarding budget allocations, Bhachar expressed astonishment at the government's priorities, citing extravagant expenditures on security equipment for the prime minister's sub-office and a vehicle for the governor's office, contrasting sharply with the struggles of impoverished citizens unable to afford basic necessities like flour for their children.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2024.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ