Opposition, allies give govt tough time in NA

Muhammad Anis
Thursday, Jun 30, 2022

ISLAMABAD: Members of the National Assembly (MNAs) belonging to opposition and allies gave the coalition government tough time on the floor of the House on Wednesday.

They raised voices against alleged rigging in local government elections in Sindh, and members of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) traded barbs on the issue. The government got the budget bill passed with ease, but faced some harsh remarks from its allies. The MQM parliamentarians threatened to leave treasury and sit on the opposition benches. “It will not take much time to move to the opposition benches,” Salahuddin from the MQM said.

Another MQM member Sabir Qaimkhani said that development projects for their constituencies were not being given preference, saying that a man in the government was creating hurdles in approval of funds for them. “We have paid big political price for supporting the present government,” he said.

Former NA speaker and GDA member Dr. Fahmida Mirza said the local government polls in Sindh were rigged on massive scale. She said that not only the opposition but allies of government including Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUIF) and MQM were also registering protest against the rigged LG polls in Sindh and they were holding press conferences in that regard. “Your allies are addressing press conferences on the issue; whether they are wrong,” she asked.

“The provincial government machinery and the district administrations were used against the opponent candidates,” she said.

Referring to earlier views of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on the issue, Dr. Fahmida said the treasury benches were allowed to deliver5 lengthy speeches, but they were being told that it was a provincial subject. She also complained her constituency had been excluded from the development plans.

Without naming Dr Fahmida, PPP parliamentarian Agha Rafiullah said “the member did not speak about rights of Sindh when she remained part of the PTI government for four years”. He said that such people keep on changing their loyalties and then stab in the back of the previous party. “They suffered defeat in the first phase of local government polls, and they would face the same fate in the second phase also,” he said.

PPP’s Shazia Marri said she had a video clip in which a male GDA leader is seen tearing dress of a female candidate belonging to the PPP. “It were transparent elections in which the PPP emerged victorious,” she claimed.

Osama Qadari of Muhttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) said that the PPP itself, MQM, JUIF and other parties had expressed reservations over unfair elections in Sindh. “Now the Election Commission (ECP) should take some decision with regard to unfair elections in 14 districts of Sindh in the first phase,” the MQM leader said and feared that the same exercise would be repeated in Karachi and Hyderabad in the second phase.

He said new precedent of rigging was set in the first phase of LG polls as the returning officers and polling officers were changed and the ballot boxes were stolen.