Islamabad(April 27, 2018): The opposition parties in National Assembly have decided to lodge a strong protest during the budget session today.
The protest has been planned as opposition parties, including both the major political parties, Pakistan Peoples Party and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf believe that the outgoing government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has no justification for presenting budget for the whole year.The opposition would also protest the budget presentation by PML-N during Senate session.
According to the opposition, the incumbent government should instead present the budget for four months, till the next government takes over after the general elections.
The incumbent government is expected to conclude its five-year term on May 31, after which the caretaker government will take over to hold the general elections – expected to be scheduled in the last week of July.About the budget dispute, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the PML-N government had no right to present it for the entire fiscal year.
Recently while addressing the media in Islamabad, Bilawal said the PML-N would be usurping rights of the new government and Parliament. “New budget is the right of a new government that forms after the elections.”
The PML-N should only present the budget for the next few months, the PPP chairperson suggested.
On April 25, Dr. Miftah Ismail, the adviser to the Prime Minister of Finance said that the government will present a balanced, and low deficit Federal Budget for the year 2018-19.Talking to a private news channel in Islamabad, he said the government will present a reasonable budget, which will be acceptable to everyone.
To a question regarding opposition’s demand for presenting the budget for only three months, he said it is irrational and not workable.
On April 24, Chief Minister’s of three provinces walked out of the recent National Economic Council meeting, as a sign of protest.
After the meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah alleged that the federal government had been taking unconstitutional measures and said the ministers recorded their reservations over new development schemes.Shah said quorum of the NEC meeting broke after their walkout, which is why the Public Sector Development Programme could not be designed. However, he added, if the PSDP budget was approved even after their walkout then it would be illegal.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak said they would not agree with the federal government over the development budget as the latter was including projects of their choice.Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Quddus Bizenjo, who also walked out of the meeting, said they want the budget to be presented for only the next two to three months. He added budget of the remaining months should be left for the new government to decide.
On the other hand, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal said the development budget was a part of Finance Bill and was approved by National Assembly as per constitution of Pakistan and National Economic Council (NEC) had only a consultative role in this regard.
He said the federal government could not present a budget for only one quarter of the year as per demand of the chief ministers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan.In a statement issued here, Ahsan Iqbal was of the view that after the 18th amendment, the main focus of federal development budget had been on the national infrastructure.
He said usually special funds were allocated for underdeveloped provinces and the present government had allocated record funds for Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.