Most MPAs find budget books too boring to leaf through | Pakistan Today

Most MPAs find budget books too boring to leaf through

For the first time in the recent history of the Sindh Assembly, special arrangements were made for the budget speech in the House on Friday. Attempts were made to modernise the system and facilitate the Members Provincial Assembly (MPAs), the visitors and the media as well. Two large screens were installed on the left and right corners each of the House. Moreover, a large LCD was placed in front of and below the seat of the Speaker, whereas three small LCDs each were installed on the desks of the Assembly Speaker, the Chief Minister (CM) and the Opposition Leader. Arrangements for a special sound system were also put into effect.
For the budget speech session, passes for the visitors’ gallery were not issued to the general public as a large number of provincial secretaries from different departments were in attendance. Usually, a large number of senior officials of the provincial government do not attend the session. A 43-member delegation of the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry also attended the budget speech. The galleries of diplomats and governors were also packed with politicians who are not the members of the Assembly. Kaiser Bengali and other Advisers to the CM sat in the officers’ gallery during the session.
For the first time in the House, big cartons and huge bags of heavy budget books were not placed at the seats of the MPAs. Instead, a folder containing essential books and a CD was placed at the tables of the MPAs and the ministers as CDs were introduced this year in place of heavy budget books.
Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah arrived at the House while the Assembly staff was engaged in placing the folders on the tables. The minister observed the preparations for the budget speech for a while when the House was devoid of any MPAs. After issuing some instructions to the staff, the minister left the Assembly. As fixed beforehand, the session was to start at 4:00 pm. The Assembly members started arriving at the House from 3:45 pm. Following the Finance Minister, Shama Mithani, Munawar Abbasi and other MPAs arrived at the Assembly to attend the session.
Until 4:20 pm, a considerable number of MPAs had reached the House, but they did not take their seats as they had started reading the small budget books. Soon, they lost interest in the books and resorted to chit chat with one other.
Only a few MPAs – such as Anwer Maher, Nusrat Saher Abbasi and Syed Sardar Ahmed – displayed any interest in reading the budget books after arriving at the House. Opposition Leader Jam Madad Ali displayed his lack of interest in the budget books by leaving his folder untouched.
The attendance book of the MPAs was placed near the seat of the Opposition Leader, and every MPA signing the book came up to Jam Madad Ali to shake his hand. Syed Sardar Ahmed objected over a huge camera of the State-run television channel installed in front of his seat, and asked the cameraman to move it to somewhere else.
At 4:50 pm, CM Syed Qaim Ali Shah arrived at the House and took his seat. Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro arrived at the House five minutes later, and everyone in attendance stood up in his honour. During the budget speech of the Finance Minister, journalists from the print and electronic media – including photographers and cameramen – boycotted the speech to protest the threats being received by cameraman Salam Soomro for recording the video of the brutal killing of a young boy at the hands of a Rangers sepoy.
After receiving assurances by Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon and two other ministers, who met with the protesting journalists and promised protection for the cameraman, the media personnel came back to the press gallery to cover the budget speech.

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