MQM-P to apprise PTI of PML-N’s ‘mini-budget’ concerns


MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (left) and PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference in Karachi on January 5, 2021. — YouTube
MQM-P Convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui (left) and PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal addressing a press conference in Karachi on January 5, 2021. — YouTube
  • PML-N’s reservations over some clauses to be discussed with PTI, says MQM-P.
  • MQM-P leaders ask government, Opposition to sit together and discuss bill.
  • Govt has imposed burden of Rs350bn on masses through bill, Ahsan Iqbal says.

KARACHI: MQM-P, PTI’s ally in the Centre, on Wednesday assured the PML-N of taking up its reservations over the recently tabled Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 — dubbed by the Opposition as the “mini-budget” — with the ruling party.

PML-N’s reservations over the “anti-people” clauses in the finance bill will be taken up with PTI, The News reported Thursday.

A PML-N delegation, led by the secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal, met the MQM-P leaders, including convener Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, to discuss a range of issues, including the so-called mini-budget, rise in inflation, and other matters.

Talking to the media after the meeting in Bahadurabad, Siddiqui said that MQM-P has already planned to discuss some clauses of the bill that are directly affecting and increasing the burden on the common people with the government.

“After the meeting with the PML-N delegation, we will also include their recommendations in it,” he said.

The MQM-P leader said the government and the Opposition should sit together and make a joint decision on issues such as the budget, as it impacts the lives of people.

“It is a common trend that every government passes on the economic burden to their successors instead of resolving the problems and because of it, financial space is shrinking in the country,” Siddiqui said.

For his part, Iqbal, a former federal minister, said that the government has imposed a burden of over Rs350 billion on the people through the finance supplementary bill.

“The PML-N feels that in the present circumstances, it is not appropriate to impose such a burden.”

He said that meetings with the MQM-P leaders are part of the PML-N efforts to arrive at a consensus on the “mini-budget” through meeting political parties of the opposition and treasury benches.

It is pertinent to mention here that supplementary finance bill’s approval is necessary to ensure that the IMF executive board clears the country’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) on January 12 for the disbursement of the near $1 billion tranche.

Tarin lays down bill

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin on Tuesday laid the supplementary finance bill in the Senate — almost a week after it was presented in the National Assembly — amid a vociferous protest by the Opposition.

During the session, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani referred the bill to the Senate Standing Committee on Finance seeking recommendations within three days.

Senate committee meets

Following Sanjrani’s directives, the Senate Standing Committee on Finance met under the chairmanship of Senator Muhammad Talha Mahmood on Wednesday and termed the mini-budget as an attempt to bring a tsunami of inflation in the country.

The committee unanimously believed that the finance bill would bring a negative impact on the common man.

It also received a briefing from the Federal Board of Revenue’s chairman, and after it, the committee members decided to meet again on January 6 to deliberate over the bill.

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