Saturday August 20, 2022

Use of mobile phones in House banned as Sindh Assembly starts debate on budget

By Our Correspondent
June 18, 2022

Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari, who has been chairing the budget session as Speaker Siraj Durrani has been serving as the acting governor of the province, has placed a ban on using mobile phones in the House when the session is in progress.

During the Friday sitting of the PA, she ordered the secretary of the provincial legislature to seize the mobile phone of any legislator found committing the violation of her direction.

The deputy speaker issued the directives to this effect as the House commenced the general discussion on the newly presented Sindh government’s budget for the upcoming financial year 2022-23.

During the commotion in the House on Tuesday when the chief minister presented the budget, a Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) MPA, Dua Bhutto, accused two Pakistan Peoples Party legislators of stealing her mobile phone. The deputy speaker remarked that the situation concerning the mobile phone of the PTI lawmaker in the House was highly inappropriate. She added that the lawmakers should not use mobile phones in the assembly during the proceedings of the session.

She said that a house officer had found the mobile phone of Dua, who is also the wife of Haleem Adil Sheikh, the leader of the opposition in the Sindh Assembly. Rehana asked the assembly secretary to conduct a probe into the mobile phone snatching incident and submit a report within three days.

She said that due penal action would be taken against whoever was duly identified in the probe report. PTI parliamentary leader Khurrum Sher Zaman said the legislators of the PPP who had manhandled Dua and snatched her mobile phone should apologise.

Responding to the PTI’s criticism, Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla lamented that legislators in the House continued to film the proceedings despite the fact that the speaker had issued a ruling against it.

The House also witnessed a protest by opposition legislators when PTI MPA Arsalan Taj was not given the opportunity to speak. His name was mentioned in the House during remarks on Tuesday’s commotion and he wanted to clarify his position.

Budget debate

Initiating the debate on the proposed budget, PPP MPA Dr Sohrab Sarki said that a balanced budget had been presented by the provincial government given the uneven economic situation of the country.

He said public health facilities in Sindh were unmatched compared to other provinces as the credit for it went to the ruling PPP. He added that the Sindh government had recruited a large number of government schoolteachers on a meritorious basis of late.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MPA Waseem Qureshi said the bureaucracy had formulated the new provincial budget out of its own will while fully disregarding the basic problems of the masses.

He said the House should be given the opportunity to hold a pre-budget discussion so that the bureaucracy could be apprised of the fundamental needs of the people.

He remarked that Karachi had been facing a severe shortage of potable water as representatives of political parties were responsible for unjust water distribution in the city. PTI’s Bilal Ghaffar pointed out that relevant provincial ministers were not present in the house to listen to the speeches of the concerned MPAs on the new budget.

He claimed that the House could not be able to meet the mandatory quorum requirement if the opposition MPAs opted to walk out. He said the literacy rate in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had been growing while there was no such growth rate in Sindh. He said services of non-governmental organisations had been availed by the provincial government to run public health facilities.