LAHORE After the Treasury in Punjab Assembly laughed away Opposition Leaders speech on the budget, Raja Riaz had the last laugh when he declared on floor of the House that nothing could stop creation of a Seraeki province now. While launching bitter diatribe against the government for presenting 'a dubious budget of unrealistic figures and visionless targets, Raja said Seraeki province had become a reality and PPP was also going to make this demand part of its election manifesto.
Seraeki sooba zinda baad, was the slogan raised by opposition members when Raja concluded his speech on this note, criticising the government for ignoring development of Southern Punjab. He was of the view that funds allocated for this region were never utilized fully unlike other parts of the province. The rest of Rajas speech, however, proved quite entertaining for the members who enjoyed almost every word he uttered in his peculiar Punjabi accent. An amusingly wrong pronunciation of English words and some incorrect figures quoted by Raja in his speech virtually made him a laughing stock in the House which echoed with frequent laughter through out the speech, made in fits and starts, mainly due to repeated interruptions from the treasury benches.
Even Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, a man well known for keeping himself serious, was no exception this time when Opposition Leader like Raja provided him with an opportunity to have continuous visible smile on his face many a time with his comical style and funny line of argument, unlike previous leaders of the Opposition. In the very start of his speech on the new budget, Raja received a first blow from Law Minister Rana Sana Ullah who tried to make fun of him by pointing out an incorrect figure quoted by the Opposition Leader who told the House that out of total Rs193.6 billion ADP funds, government could not utilize Rs136 billion last year. Rana corrected Raja by saying that government had utilized Rs105 billion. Raja even read Rs193.6 billion as 19.36 billion to which Rana again raised objection.
The assembly members, even on the opposition benches, could not control laughter when Raja pronounced the word Information as Unformation while making mention of budget allocation for Information Technology Board. Talking about the budget allocation for Prosecution department, he voiced the words Prosecution as Pros-cution. Similarly, he pronounced the word Bureaucracy as Borocracy, Irrigation as Airigation and Proposed as Propposed. He also pronounced the Urdu word Taaleem (Education) as Taleem in his peculiar Punjabi accent. While responding to Treasury members contemptuous laugh over his bad pronunciation in later part of his speech, Raja told them that he was proud of his Punjabi accent. He also admitted that his entire education had been in government schools of not very high standard and he was not ashamed of it.
Rana Sana Ullah also made Raja a subject of ridicule when the later started off his speech by pointing out absence of Secretary Finance and P&D from the officers gallery. Finding no answer, the law minister took a clumsy plea that no Opposition Leader had ever come with such a, what he called shameful demand. Rana called Raja Riaz Anokha Laadla for seeking presence of the said officers in the assembly instead of being heard by honorable members of the House. He added that Opposition Leader was not well-prepared today, and that is why he was demanding presence of finance department officials to seek more time for preparation. Raja responded by saying that officers took the law minister lightly and they would not come to the House on his call and this was the reason that he had taken such an unconvincing argument. Raja in his speech criticized Yellow Cab Scheme re-launched by the government and other projects like Aashiana Housing Scheme and Daanish School System, saying they will prove a failure. He said it was unfair that PML-N government wanted to make educated youth taxi drivers. He said there was no mention of any funds in the budget documents for the Aashiana Housing Scheme and the government must clarify where the money for this project will come from. Raja said government had no right to decide which one of the two poor students should go to Daanish School. Quoting figures from the budget documents, Opposition Leader said that government had missed all the set targets of previous fiscal for different departments. He specifically mentioned the departments of health, education, irrigation, police and prosecution which could not utilize their allocated budgets last year.