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June 26, 2020

PPP comes in for a lot of flak in PA ‘for failing to meet Karachi’s needs’


June 26, 2020

Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly Firdous Shamim Naqvi has lamented that two public bus schemes had been introduced in Karachi during the regime of Pakistan Peoples Party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, but the PPP, despite being in power in the province for the last 12 years, has failed to introduce any such mass transit scheme for people of the city.

Speaking during the ongoing budget session of the provincial assembly on Thursday, the opposition leader, who belongs to the PTI, said the government had failed to provide the reports of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the house of the previous two fiscal years despite a consistent demand of the opposition to this effect.

He said the Sindh government had also violated the norms of democracy in handling the affairs related to the PAC and various standing committees of the provincial legislature. He said the opposition was ignored in this matter.

The secretaries of the government’s administrative departments were public servants belonging to the service of Pakistan, but their conduct had become questionable and partial in the province, he remarked.

He said the provincial government had taken a good initiative by imposing lockdown measures in the province against the spread of the coronavirus, but the administration had failed to get implemented the same regime on the ground.

He said the demand of the opposition political parties in the province to impose governor’s rule in Sindh was not an unconstitutional call as such a provision had been given in the constitution.

The opposition leader said they were not against the spirit of the 18th Constitutional Amendment. He said that the Sindh government, despite having a budget of trillions of rupees, could not arrange quality coronavirus testing kits for healthcare facilities in the province.

The government had failed to procure a single plane to do insecticide sprays against the incoming threat of locust swarms for safeguarding the interests of farmers, he added.

Earlier, taking part in the general discussion on the proposed provincial budget, Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani said the government could not carry out development schemes in the province in an adequate number as it didn’t get its due fiscal share from the federal divisible resources.

He criticised the federal government for its failure to increase the salaries of its employees in the new budget. He said the rule of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the country had done more damage to the economy of the country than economic devastation caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Ghani said the decisions of the Sindh government’s education department during the coronavirus emergency had become guiding principles for the rest of the provinces.

He said the dilapidated buildings of the government-run schools in the province were being reconstructed. He said the government had issued directives for giving concessions in the tuition fee by private schools during the first two months of the coronavirus emergency.

He said the PPP’s Sindh government had introduced 216 new rules and regulations for the labour sector. He said legislation had been done to empower the farmers to constitute unions for their rights.

Ghani said the government would introduce a social security card facility for labourers belonging to every formal and informal sector of the economy. He said that weak provinces would lead to a weak federation in the country, and the federal government should not make attempt to weaken the provinces by diluting the provisions of the 18th Constitutional Amendment.

He also criticised the federal government for prolonged and recurring power supply disruptions in the province during the peak summer season. Information and Local Government Syed Nasir Hussain Shah claimed that the provincial government had been carrying out development schemes in Karachi having a total value of Rs100 billion, and some of these schemes would be completed in the current year.

He said that new water supply schemes having a capacity of 100MGD and 65MGD were being constructed in the city, and the K-IV bulk water supply scheme for Karachi was being built by the Frontier Works Organisation.

Shah added that the Sindh government had been giving due importance to the city, and what it deserved in accordance with its area and population. He said that the government had been equally treating rural and urban parts of the city.

Barrister Hasnain Mirza, opposition lawmaker of the Grand Democratic Alliance, said that the Sindh government in the aftermath of the 18th Constitutional Amendment had failed to further devolve the powers and authority to the level of local governments.

He said the government had introduced only two major development schemes for his native town of Badin. He said that despite the passage of seven years, the campus of the Sindh University in Badin could not be completed.

Haleem Adil Shaikh, an PTI MPA, said the government had been consistently failing to fulfil the needs of Karachi despite the fact that the revenue generated by the city was enough to run the entire country.

He alleged that corruption had become rampant in all affairs of the government of the PPP as the provincial exchequer was being brazenly looted by the rulers in the province.