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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said in the Senate on Tuesday Rs 600 billion development package for South Balochistan by Prime Minister Imran Khan was greatest development package in the history of that region and a manifestation of the federal government’s commitment to ensure prosperity in Balochistan.

“When I saw the plight of the people of Balochistan, my heart cried. But am I responsible for this situation? Is Imran Khan responsible? No, we are not. You (opposition) are responsible for the state of affairs Balochistan is in. Your governments ruled that province for over 40 years. Everything that is wrong with Balochistan is because of you,” he said.

The minister came down hard on the Sindh government and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) for opposing the federal government’s control on Bundal Island. “First, it was the Sindh government that gave an NOC for development in Bundal Island by federal government. Then, the same government started crying foul. I ask you, what made you do so? Were you seeking your commission in the development of Bundal Island?”

The matter needs to be thoroughly investigated that why Sindh initially issued the NOC later backtracked, the minister said.

Saeed also criticised the Sharif family over its alleged financial foul play, which he said was exposed in Panamagate case.

The communications minister said the recent Broadsheet controversy further exposed the Sharif family and clearly unearthed that how the Sharif family offered bribe to hide its mega corruption.

He dismissed opposition’s criticism on the promulgation of ordinances, saying 74 presidential ordinances were promulgated during the first two years of PPP in power.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs took on opposition for the agenda item proposing discussion on “alarming propensity of the federal government to usurp and subvert parliamentary and provincial rights guaranteed in the Constitution by attempting to rule the country by ordinances, especially the current case of attempted illegal land grab of Sindh and Balochistan islands as well as resources.”

The minister said “The words like ‘usurp’ and ‘subvert’ remind me of Article 6 of the Constitution. They remind me how Constitution was subverted and the federal government of Benazir Bhutto was toppled after staying for only 18 months in power…” he said.

PPP Parliamentary Leader in Senate Sherry Rehman strongly criticised the federal government. “Pakistan needs to be run by the Parliament and this government has tried its best to make it redundant by bypassing the Parliament… They are focused on ordinances, which is a clear indication of their preference towards a presidential system. The ordinances keep expiring, just like how the PIDA Ordinance expired recently. If it has expired, then why are they defending it?” she said.

“What happened to the million trees tsunami? Climate change department has been paralysed due to their mismanagement. LNG supply issue is in front of the world. Our institutions are being shut. PTDC has been closed and people are being laid off. Sugar, gas and electricity crisis have made us a laughing stock in front of the world. Just because they are not glamorous enough, these issues are being ignored and not being discussed.” she added.

Other senators including Faisal Javed, Mohsin Aziz, Nusrat Shaheen, Behramand Tangi, Nuzhat Sadiq, Abida Azeem, Faiz Muhammad, Keshoo Bai, Waleed Iqbal, Sikandar Mandhro, Raza Rabbani, Khalid Bizenjo and Pervaiz Rashid also participated in the debate. The House would meet again on Friday morning.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021