LAHORE - The lawmakers, both from the Treasury and the Opposition, on Tuesday staged a strong protest in the Punjab Assembly against the government, saying that they were not consulted on the budget.

Treasury’s Malik Javed Iqbal Awan took a swipe at the high-ups for ignoring his constituency, PP-39, Khushab. He said: “None of my proposals for development schemes in my constituency has been incorporated in the budget. The area is in need of education and health facilities. The only degree college in the Khushab district lacks basic facilities.”

He said: “Do my constituency’s girls don’t deserve education as their basic right?”

Moreover, he said that he felt the pain of rejection of his proposal for a road link project. “(CM) Shehbaz Sharif is called Punjab Speed, but why my constituency has been left out.”

He urged the high-ups to consider his suggestions so that he could save his face when he meets his voters in the next elections.

The Opposition, as a show of solidarity with Malik, hurled ‘Shame, Shame’ at the government.

JUI-F lawmaker Masroon Jhangvi also came down hard on the government for ignoring his area, PP-78 Jhang. He said that his constituency was in dire need of clean drinking water as well as education and health facilities, but the budget offered it nothing. “No relief was given to the poor in the budget,” he said.

“We cannot afford this step-motherly treatment anymore,” he said, and warned that people might take to the streets. He asked that why his pre-budget proposals were not entertained. For the past 27 years, the district has been crying for rights and share in development schemes, but to no avail, he said.

“If this is the system, we reject it,” Jhangvi said, and walked out of the House tearing apart the copy of the agenda. The opposition backed him by thumping desks.

Iqbal Rana of the Treasury also rapped his high command for putting his proposals on the backburner though he praised the volume of the budget. He regretted that money was being spent on urban areas, creating a sense of deprivation among rural people. “Villagers too are aware and they question as to why they are being ignored,” he said.

The Opposition again seconded Rana’s remarks.

On his turn, Opposition’s Arif Abbasi rejected the budget outright, saying “just fateha can be offered on this dead budget”.

“The government says health is its priority, but just Rs6.80 per person has been allocated for this sector,” he said.

Abbasi called the rulers a mafia and said the government was being run in a mafia style. His remarks perturbed the treasurers who stood up and started shouting slogans against PTI leader Imran Khan, calling him a junkie and a liar.  On this, the budget session, which began 25 minutes behind the schedule because of incomplete quorum, became a battleground for a war of words until the Opposition staged a walkout.

Treasurers Waris Kahlu and Madiha Rana praised the budget. Tariq Masih, Zulfiqar Ghauri, Muhammad Umar Jaffer and Waheed Gull also took part in the budget debate, which will resume against at 11am on Wednesday (today).