Debate on Sindh budget continues as 24 more MPAs orate

KARACHI: General discussion on provincial budget of Sindh continued in the seventh sitting of the budget session of Monday as 24 more assembly members spoke on it, with the treasury members praising it lavishly and the opposition benches criticizing it bitterly.

The house met with speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in chair 49 minutes late than its scheduled time of 10:00am. It ended at 5:24pm with a break of about one and half hour.

Sindh information minister gave a statement under Rule 261, condemning the suspension of the license of ARY New channel. He said this is continuation of dictatorial policies. He said curbs on media are not in favour of democracy.

Opposition leader Muhammad Shahryar Khan Mahar, Syed Sardar Ahmed of MQM and Samar Ali Khan of PTI also condemned the suspension of ARY News and advised the government not to stifle media. However, Irfanullah Khan Marwat blamed 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 program funds. However, they said the government is committed to serve 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 and 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 urban-centered and demanded their withdrawal. They demanded a fund of Rs5billion to provide cheap eatable commodities to low income urban citizens under rationing system.

Two members of PML-F and one MPA of PML-N also spoke and criticized the provincial budget. They blamed the government of committing political vendetta by ignoring their constituencies. They demanded just distribution of funds for all areas irrespective of their political affiliation.

MPA Arbab Ghulam Rahim (ex CM) attended today’s sitting. The question hour was differed on motion of Dr Sikandar Mandhro, minister for parliamentary affairs.

The speaker announced break till 3:00pm (at 1:57pm) and the house resumed at 3:26pm.

The speaker adjourned the house till Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 10:00am and announced that tomorrow’s sitting would be held in new hall of the assembly.

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