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June 24, 2021

MQM-P demands Sindh govt stop collecting taxes in Karachi, Hyderabad

June 24, 2021

MQM-P demands Sindh govt stop collecting taxes in Karachi, Hyderabad

Alleging that Karachi and Hyderabad are being treated like a colony, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan demanded in the Sindh Assembly on Wednesday that the government should stop collecting taxes from urban areas of the province and instead let the residents solve basic civic issues on their own.

The demand was made by MQM-P parliamentary party leader Kanwar Naveed Jameel as he took part in the ongoing discussion on the provincial government’s budget for the financial year 2021-22.

The general discussion on the proposed budget continued for the fifth day as the proceedings of the house on the day was abruptly adjourned for 10 minutes due to a protest by MQM-P legislators, who agitated with placards demanding a water supply to the residential areas of Karachi.

They also staged a sit-in near the rostrum of the speaker, and continued with their protest drive despite a request by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah that the MQM MPAs shouldn’t resort to agitation in the house and let the government respond to their allegations.

Taking part in the discussion, the MQM parliamentary party leader lamented that after 13 years of the PPP’s rule in the province, Karachi was counted among the 10 worst cities of the world.

He said just one locality of Karachi, i.e. Liaquatabad, paid more taxes than the total taxes collected from the entire Lahore city, but even then the new Sindh government’s budget didn’t contain a single development scheme for Liaquatabad. He alleged that the ongoing development schemes of Karachi had been deleted from the next fiscal year’s budget.

The Muttahida MPA said the government had failed to establish medical colleges in Korangi, Hyderabad and Mirpurkhas despite the passage of 10 years. He said their party had got approval from the federal government to build a university in Hyderabad, but the chief minister had been reluctant to provide land for the purpose.

Jameel claimed that the government had not spent a single penny to upgrade the status of a college in Hyderabad to a university. He further alleged that the government collected Rs400 billion annually from Karachi in the form of taxes, while an equal sum was collected from the city by officers of the provincial administration as bribes.

He said civic conditions had become so pathetic in Karachi that people conducted a donation drive to repair the faulty water supply line in their residential area. He said the federal government had been providing funds for building a 20 years-old bulk water supply scheme for Karachi, K-IV, as the Sindh government had been doing nothing to fulfil its obligations in this regard.

“The Sindh government should not bother the people of Karachi any more as otherwise we will be compelled to say that this assembly doesn’t belong to us anymore,” said the MQM parliamentary leader.

He said his party had rejected the budget. “Karachi doesn’t have local rulers and officials and we will continue our protest,” he said. Jameel said the development schemes for Karachi contained in the new budget carried no real value as they were included only because the CM could refer to them in his budget speech.

Another opposition MPA belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, said the education sector had been in a shambles in Sindh. He said the infant mortality rate of the province was also the highest in the country, and its annual growth rate had reduced to mere four per cent.

He alleged that the system of governance in Sindh was based on corruption causing widespread destruction in the province. He said the government had been doing injustice to Karachi.

The PTI lawmaker said the CM in his budget speech had claimed that development schemes of Rs109 billion had been included in the new budget, but these schemes were nowhere mentioned in the budget books. He added that Karachi lacked functional primary health care units, and a proper system of governance was also missing in the city. The PTI legislator said the provincial government had even failed to establish garbage transfer stations in Karachi, and that Sindh had no functional rescue service for the public. Naqvi said the Sindh government hadn’t announced a new provincial Finance Commission Award since 2007.

No cut motion

Speaker Agha Siraj Khan Durrani disclosed that none of the opposition legislators in the house had submitted any cut motion in the house against the budget for the upcoming fiscal year and the deadline for the purpose had expired. The opposition’s failure to submit any cut motion against the provincial budget was quite unusual and contrary to the well-established parliamentary traditions.