Saturday, April 1, 2023

Punjab Assembly winds budget discussion amid opposition boycott


LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly on Wednesday winded up discussion on the budget proposals which has been boycotted by the opposition after several parliamentarians were suspended.

Provincial Finance Minister Makhdom Hashim Jawan Bakht, while completing the discussion on the budget, criticised the opposition for their non-participation, saying the opposition failed to meet the trust of people who gave them votes.

He said that discussion on budget and proposals play a great role in final formulation particularly, but unfortunately the previous government did not give due importance to governance, or does not know how to do engage in positive opposition.

The provincial minister thanked the parliamentarians from treasury benches for focusing on collective problems instead of their individual issues. He lauded their efforts and for selecting development projects keeping in consideration the financial condition of the province.

He said the budget session under the present government was unique as no budget proposals were rejected, and those which could not become part of the present budget will be included in the next fiscal year.

He said that most of the problems discussed in the assembly were regarding education, health, agriculture and clean water, which were already included in the budget.

He assured that the present government was focusing on the entire province giving due importance to all areas, and will not ignore either south Punjab, Jhang or Attock.

The minister also expressed grave concerns on Pakistan’s decline in the Human development Index (HDI), and stressed upon the need to benefit from international research instead of relying on local institutions of provincial departments.

He said the government should focus on the badly affected social sector, and therefore the Punjab government has priortised education, health and business sector.

He said a special package has been announced to invest in loss-making SMEs and businesses. He lauded the efforts of cabinet and concerned departments for controlling their expenditures and enhancing the capacity for the next budget.

Opposition boycott budget sessions

Yesterday, the opposition Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) decided to continue with its boycott of Punjab Assembly sessions until its suspended MPAs are not reinstated.

A meeting of the PML-N parliamentary party was held in the provincial capital which backed the proposal not to attend the assembly proceedings until its demands were not accepted.

A day earlier, the PML-N decided that its newly elected MPAs from Punjab will not take oath until the six suspended party MPAs are not permitted to attend sessions.

Speaker Punjab Assembly Pervaiz Elahi had issued show-cause notices to half a dozen members of the opposition for allegedly vandalising furniture and using abusive language during a session in which the budget was presented.

The suspended members include Muhammad Ashraf, Malik Muhammad Wahid, Muhammad Yaseen Amir, Muhammad Mirza, Tariq Masih Gill and Zab-ul-Nisa. They are accused of disturbing the budget session, tearing budget copies, breaking microphones, recording machines and furniture of the house.


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