The opposition in the Punjab Assembly, led by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) recorded a strong protest throughout the budget speech of Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht on Friday.As the finance minister started criticising the previous governments in the beginning of his speech, the MPAs stood on their seats and surrounded the dais of the speaker, shouting slogans against Prime Minister Imran Khan and his government. “Our political opponents are perturbed when we talk about the poor state of economy and the previous rulers are responsible for the current economic crisis,” said the finance minister. He wondered how the debts increased from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion during the last 10 years and what those expenditures were that prompted the last government to even spend Rs 102 billion of the General Provident (GP) funds of government officials. He said every newborn baby was under a debt of Rs 150,000 just due to the poor policies of the previous rulers, adding that the people of Punjab couldn’t get clean drinking water despite billions of rupees spent for the purpose. As the finance minister proceeded with his speech, the MPAs of the PML-N surrounded the dais of the speaker and started chanting slogans against Imran Khan, calling him a liar and terming the budget a fake one. They also tore the copies of the agenda item, creating a mess in the House. MPAs Azma Bukhari, Pir Ashraf Rasool, Samiullah Khan, Kanwal Liaqat, Saadia Taimoor and Kh Imran Nazir were at the forefronts in chanting slogans against the government and its policies.Provincial Minister Ch Zaheeruddin, Law Minister Raja Basharat and some MPAs of the PTI, including Uzma Karadar and Nadeem Bara, were guarding the finance minister and Speaker Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi to avoid any physical attack by the opposition. Some MPAs of the treasury also carried placards against the leadership of the PML-N, but they avoided shouting slogans for the facilitation of finance minister, who was delivering the speech despite all the noise. Later, talking to the media, Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz, who was attending the session following issuance of his production order, said that it was not a budget but a poison for the people, as even a barber would now have to pay 16 percent tax. Criticising the budget, Hamza said that the total outlay of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) was Rs 630 billion when the PML-N left the government, but this amount had now been decreased to just Rs 350 billion. “They have allocated just Rs 122 billion for southern Punjab despite the fact that the chief minister himself hails from that region. We had earmarked a hefty amount of Rs 238 billion for the uplift of southern Punjab,” said the opposition leader, who will formally open the debate on budget on Monday. “The economy was on the ventilator earlier, but now it is dead and therefore needs a burial,” he concluded.