Opposition MPA decries ‘rampant corruption’ in Sindh in budget debate

Our Correspondent
Thursday, Jun 23, 2022

Rampant corrupt practices by rulers of Sindh is the main reason behind the fact that a vast majority of the people of the province are deprived of basic necessities of life.

This view was opined by opposition legislators on Wednesday as the Sindh Assembly continued with its general discussion on the proposed provincial budget for the upcoming financial year 2022-23.

A vocal female lawmaker belonging to the Grand Democratic Alliance, Nusrat Seher Abbasi, alleged that substandard development works were being carried out in the province. She added that the ruling party in the province, Pakistan Peoples Party, was more interested in winning the upcoming local government polls than serving the people.

She said the people associated with the opposition political parties in the province were being subjected to harassment prior to the municipal polls. The GDA MPA also criticised the Sindh government for the misery of underprivileged people in Thar, saying that many people in the desert region were still deprived of clean drinking water although billions of rupees had been spent by the provincial government on the development of Thar.

She went on to allege that the provincial exchequer was getting emptied due to unchecked corrupt practices. Even funds for disbursal of Zakat and welfare of religious minorities were being embezzled, she added. She said the provincial authorities had committed corruption in wheat stocks meant for feeding the people.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) legislator Jamal Siddiqui said the budget books had revealed that a secret fund of Rs1 billion had been reserved for the provincial health department. He asked the Sindh health minister to provide an explanation in the House over the secret fund.

He said the PPP long march from Karachi to Islamabad earlier the year meant to install the PPP chairman as the foreign minister of the country. He recalled that during the regime of the PTI in the Centre, then opposition political parties had faced no resistance when they carried out their long marches, but when those parties came into power, they lodged criminal cases against PTI leaders trying to hold marches.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan MPA Sadaqat Hussain lamented that the new budget books of the Sindh government carried no development scheme for his constituency in Orangi Town.

He said the deprived residents of Orangi Town were being penalised in a systematic manner as if they had committed any sin. Some 2.2 million residents of Orangi Town had to avail water tanker service for fulfilling their basic household need, he remarked.

He said the health and education systems in Orangi Town had been in a shambles while there was no check on the sale of narcotics in the area. The Opposition lawmaker said the development schemes launched in his constituency during 2013 had yet to be completed.

Responding to the criticism, PPP MPA Heer Soho said that up to 1,000 candidates belonging to the ruling party had been elected unopposed in the coming local government polls and this showed well the performance of the PPP in Sindh.

She praised the decision of the Sindh government to levy no new tax in the budget to provide relief to the masses. PTI legislator Arsalan Taj said that the performance of the past regime of PTI in collecting taxes had been better than the Sindh government.

He said the prices of essential food items had phenomenally increased during the present regime to the utter dismay of the public. He added that the present rulers belonged to the elite class and they had no idea about the sufferings of the people.

Another PTI lawmaker Shabbir Qureshi narrated the recent incident of his arbitrary arrest by police last Sunday. He said the police sprang into action to detain him minutes after lodging a baseless FIR against him.

Qureshi said that he had remained blindfolded continuously for several hours after his arrest. He said the Sindh inspector general of police should be summoned to the House and censured for such a sheer show of lawlessness in the province.