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June 15, 2019

CM blames Centre for fiscal troubles as opposition protests during budget speech


June 15, 2019

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah was heckled by the opposition’s protest in the Sindh Assembly on Friday as he presented the proposed provincial budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.

Legislators belonging to the three major opposition parties in the House – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), he Muttahida Quami Movement-Pakistan and the Grand Democratic Alliance – protested throughout the budget speech of the CM.

The opposition lawmakers gathered near the rostrum of the speaker and much closer to the seat of the CM where he was delivering his budget speech. They held placards inscribed with slogans against the provincial government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). They also chanted against the PPP’s rule in Sindh.

The placards demanded that the Sindh government ensure water supply to Karachi, lift garbage from the city and give Karachi its due share of the city from the Provincial Finance Commission. Some of the placards criticised the PPP for its failure to end corruption in Sindh and bad governance.

The protest was led by Leader of the Opposition Firdous Shamim Naqvi who belongs to the PTI.

The speech of the CM was hardly audible to the journalists sitting in the press gallery due to the loud protest of the opposition legislators. A few treasury lawmakers encircled the CM while he was delivering his budget speech so that he could not be interrupted by the opposition MPAs who had come near him.

On several occasions, the CM stopped reading his budget speech due to the protest and made impromptu remarks. He said the opposition legislators had no regard for the sufferings of the people of Sindh as they were coalition partners in the federal government which was responsible for the unprecedented fiscal shortfall in the province as it did not release funds from the divisible pool to Sindh.

He said the opposition parties were causing ruckus in the House at the cost of the well-being of people in their constituencies. The opposition, instead of interrupting the business of the assembly without any valid cause, should join hands with the government to ensure that the people of Sindh get their due rights, he added.

The CM maintained that his government would do whatever it took to secure the due

fiscal rights of the people of Sindh from the Centre, for which it had been given mandate by the voters of the province. The people of Sindh would not be made to suffer due to the indifference of the federal government towards the fiscal rights of the provinces, he said.

Criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan, the CM said the PM had announced Rs162 billion special development package for Karachi but no effort was made to convert the announcement into reality. According to Shah, it was the Sindh government that had made massive allocation of funds for the development of Karachi.

The CM said although the federal government had issued a notification to assume the control of three major public sector hospitals of Karachi, it made no allocation in its new budget to run these hospitals. He added that if the hospitals’ control remained with the provincial government, it would reserve ample allocation to manage and run the health facilities as per its past practice.

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