Opposition decries anti-south Punjab budget

Source:  Dawn.com Published in Politics on Tuesday, June 14, 2016

LAHORE: The opposition has rejected the Punjab budget as anti-masses, anti-farmer and anti-labour.

Leaders of various opposition parties also raised slogans against the budgetary allocations outside the Punjab Assembly.

Mian Mahmoodur Rashid, opposition leader in the Punjab Assembly, told reporters after the budget session on Monday that the government had disappointed the farmers by not issuing them credit cards under the Kissan Package.

Without cards, he said, the package would remain unimplemented like the so-called health insurance scheme introduced by the government in the previous budget.

He also criticised the government for imposing tax on residential and commercial plots and on small cars.

He said the government did not focus on health, education and water supply and human resource development, and instead allocated most of the budget for infrastructure development.

Criticising Rs550 billion annual development plan, he recalled that the previous year the government could not consume 37 percent of the Rs400 billion ADP.

PPP’s Sardar Shahabuddin called it a budget of the “Sharifs” and of “throne of Lahore”. He alleged that south Punjab had been neglected in the budget as “women in the areas are committing suicides and after administering poison their loved ones because of widespread unemployment and poverty”.

Referring to the government’s claim of setting up a cadet college in the Seraiki belt, the PPP leader said it had been approved by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani but the Shahbaz government was taking credit for it wrongly.

Jamaat-i-Islami’s Dr Syed Waseem Akhtar said it was thee anti-farmer, anti-employee and anti-worker budget.

He said the Shahbaz government could not yet restore the Bahawalpur province nor it made any practical efforts for carving out the Janobi Punjab province as it has promised in its previous tenure.

The Pakistan Awami Tehreek called the Punjab ‘orange’ budget, dubbing it directionless and anti-people as no allocations had been kept for the poor man on the street and for south Punjab.

Khwaja Aamer Fareed Koraja and Basharal Jaspal stated that in 16 hours loadshedding, the Punjab government claimed to create 500,000 new jobs. Only a fool could think of this dream, they said.

They said the Punjab was being run like a company, and only to give work to foreign companies it had planned to increase the clean water scheme by 88 per cent.

The PAT leaders asked the chief minister to tell how much of the budget allocated last year for south Punjab has been utilised.

They said the poor man had no relevance in the eyes of the chief minister and for him “useless” projects were more important and the common man on the street has no importance.