Opp walks out of Senate session on budget


–PPP says it is IMF budget, warns people will take to streets against inflation

–PPP’s Sherry questions Zardari, Talpur’s arrest, says these are ‘retaliatory’ acts

–PTI’s Shibli says one party has taken the house hostage


ISLAMABAD: The Senate session which was convened to hold a debate on budget was adjourned after the opposition walked out of the house in protest against non-issuance of production orders for Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari.

PPP’s Sherry Rehman said Zardari was arrested a day before the budget session despite the fact he was cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “Politicians are being harassed,” Rehman said, adding, “These are retaliatory acts.”

Leader of the House in Shibli Faraz was visibly irked by the behaviour of the opposition. “One political party is taking the house hostage,” he said, adding that the government would not allow this and first the agenda of the house would be completed.

The opposition continued their protest outside the Senate.

The government’s ‘tax-laden’ budget also came under discussion during the session.

Initiating the debate, Senator Abdul Qayyum said that this budget has no positive initiative to boost the economy nor does it provide relief to the common man.

He proposed that the focus should be on growth, agriculture, industry, services sector, and control expenditure to strengthen the economy.

He said that revenue collection should be enhanced and leakages should be checked.

He added that the opposition will cooperate with the government on issues pertaining to national security, economic prosperity, and people’s welfare.

Speaking on her turn, Sherry said that the country is facing the biggest deficit budget in its history. She said that the present government has increased the burden of debt on the country.

She also said that the entire country will take to streets when people will face difficulties in paying their utility bills as a result of anti-poor budget. She termed the budget as a document dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The parliamentary committee was not consulted in the preparation of the budget, he said, adding that a “tsunami” had taken place in the prices of oil, gas and food and drink items

PPP stalwart Raza Rabbani said that the budget had been “illegally presented” in the NA. Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani said that a matter pertaining to the other house could not be discussed here.

While asking the Senate chairman to inquire with the NA speaker about the matter, Rabbani said that the budget had been made on the directions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Senator Sitara Ayaz said that the common man was already paying numerous taxes, and now an additional burden of taxes would make life miserable.

She said that the government has failed to make any remarkable progress in the education sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), where Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been ruling for the last six years.

Noman Wazir said that targeted subsidies have been provided to the poor and rich people have been taxed to collect revenue. He said that a subsidy of Rs210 billion has been provided to electricity consumers using less than 300 units.

He said that the government will welcome constructive criticism and good suggestions from the opposition to strengthen the economy and for the welfare of the common man.

The house was then adjourned till Monday at 4:30 pm.