Opposition calls for just distribution of funds

KARACHI: General discussion on Sindh budget continued in the seventh sitting of the budget session on Monday as 24 more assembly members spoke on it, with the treasury members praising it lavishly and the opposition benches criticising it bitterly.The House met with Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair 49 minutes late. The session ended at 5:24pm with a break of about one and a half hour.The Sindh information minister gave a statement under Rule 261, condemning the suspension of the licence of ARY News channel. He said this is in continuation of the government’s dictatorial policies. He said curbs on media are not in favour of democracy.Opposition leader Muhammad Shahryar Khan Mahar, MQM’s Syed Sardar Ahmed and PTI’s Samar Ali Khan also condemned the suspension of ARY News and advised the government not to stifle media. However, Irfanullah Khan Marwat accused some sections of media of immaturity and said they are paying for the mistakes they committed.Eighteen MPAs belonging to ruling PPPP spoke on the budget and lavishly praised it. They congratulated the Sindh chief minister and his team for presenting a “people-friendly” budget. They blamed fewer receipts from the federal government for slash in the annual development programme funds. However, they said their government is committed to serving the poor masses of Sindh as per the vision of their party leadership. They opposed the suggestion to levy agricultural income tax, saying the landlords of Sindh have already been paying huge taxes; instead, they need some relief.Three members of the ruling MQM spoke on the budget and demanded more funding for the urban areas. They also demanded funds for mega water and sewerage schemes for Karachi besides the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project. They termed the new taxes as urban-centred and demanded their immediate withdrawal. They demanded a fund of Rs 5 billion to provide cheap edible commodities to low-income urban citizens under rationing system.Two members of PML-F and one MPA of PML-N also criticised the provincial budget. They acccused the government of holding political grudge by ignoring their constituencies. They demanded just distribution of funds irrespective of anyone’s political affiliation.Sindh former chief minister, MPA Arbab Ghulam Rahim attended Monday’s sitting. The question hour was deferred on motion of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro, The speaker announced break till 3pm (at 1:57pm) and the House resumed the debate at 3:26pm.The speaker adjourned the House until today (Tuesday), at 10am and announced that today’s sitting would be held in new hall of the assembly.

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