NA continues budget debate amid thin attendance | Pakistan Today

NA continues budget debate amid thin attendance

Reflecting poor interest of lawmakers in the Finance Bill 2011-12, the Lower House on Saturday continued debate on the budget amid visibly thin presence, which perhaps was below the quorum throughout the day. At one stage, PML-N’s Lt General (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch took the floor to raise the point of quorum, but Deputy Speaker Faisal Karim Kundi ignored him and gave the floor to Usman Khan, an independent MNA from Balochistan.
A majority of the speakers emphasised on reforming the tax collection system, while the public outcry over the Rangers shooting incident in Karachi provided an opportunity to Baloch parliamentarians to remind the House about the plight of the people of Balochistan. Usman Khan said the whole country had been agitated when the Rangers killed a boy in Karachi, but no one raises voice against the daily killing and torture of the Baloch people. He said the people of Balochistan had the same rights as the people of Karachi and Lahore.
Khan said the government had not revisited its policies on the presence of intelligence agencies and paramilitary forces in Balochistan despite promising to do so in the Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package. PML-N’s Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said nothing was more important than the budget and the thin presence of the members reflected the interest of the lawmakers in national issues. He said Pakistan’s debt had crossed the Rs 10 trillion mark, and if the government taxed two million people earning more than Rs 500,000 million a month instead of the poor, it could collect Rs 23 trillion. Abbasi said two-third members of the house paid taxes, but the amount paid did not exceed Rs 10 million. He demanded the government take on tax evaders and start the efforts from the House, because members of the House had cars worth over Rs 3 billion of the public’s money in their use.
He said an in-camera meeting of the House should be called to evolve a joint strategy to resolve the economic crisis in the country. Quoting figures released by the ISPR, he said only $8.6 billion had been received by the government of Pakistan as Coalition Support Fund (CSF), against an expected amount of $13 billion. Abdul Ghani Talpur of the PPP said tax on fertilizers and tractors should be withdrawn, as it would affect the poor farmers badly. He also asked the members not to criticise the Pakistan Army.

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