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Lahore

June 14, 2016
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Opposition disrupts budget speech; tear up copies

Lahore

June 14, 2016

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LAHORE

Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha on Monday presented the province’s Annual Budget 2016-17 estimating at Rs1681.4 billion along with the supplementary budget 2015-16 of Rs146.093 billion and the Punjab Finance Bill for the same year.

The minister also laid the notifications relating to the amendments to the second schedule of the Punjab Sales Tax on Services 2012. The session was presided over by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal. Secretaries of all departments and IG Punjab Mushtaq Sukhera were also present in the gallery. 

The budget speech by the Finance Minister which began half an hour late the scheduled time for the session on Monday was repeatedly disrupted by all parties members on the opposition benches with chanting of anti-government slogans. This was met with sloganeering from the treasury benches praising Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the supposed measures being taken for public welfare in the province. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif arrived in the House shortly after the session began and appeared to be agitated by the disorderly behaviour of the opposition bench with members banging copies of the budget and some tearing up copies and motioning them towards the Speaker’s chair. 

The Speaker despite loud unruly behaviour of the opposition only called for order twice in the session to no avail. Members of the cabinet, including Education Minister Rana Mashhood and Religious Affairs Minister Khalil Tahir Sindhu present on a rare occasion in its entirety tried their best to show loyalty to the leader by heaping praise on the newly announced budget.  The Opposition Leader and PTI MPA Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed on Monday in the budget session led the chorus of protest constantly reminding party members to stand up and chant at their highest pitch.

PTI MPAs Arif Abbasi, Saadia Sohail, and Dr Murad Rass were the most vocally disdainful along with PPP MPA Mian Shahabuddin. Meanwhile, PTI MPA from Layyah Abdul Majeed Niazi chanted a slogan calling for South Punjab to be given their due financial reward in the budget.

The Finance Minister’s praise in her budget speech for the Metro Bus system and Lahore Orange Line Metro Train was met with loud disapproval from the opposition bench as well.  The session was adjourned for Thursday. 

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