Senate witnesses heated debate on mini-budget

Senate witnesses heated debate on mini-budget

ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the Senate Friday strongly objected to the use of term ‘sadiq and amin’ for PM Imran Khan and his repeated reference to the ‘State of Madina’ saying his actions were not in line with these references.

The ruling PTI Senator from Lahore Ejaz Chaudhry while hitting back at the opposition, alleged that the trend of ‘ridiculing’ the State of Madina while heaping criticism on Prime Minister Imran Khan, said.

“To make mention of Madina state or taking any step towards it entails great

reward from Allah,” he remarked. The opposition senators rejected the mini-budget as a death warrant for the masses.

PMLN Senator Rana Maqbool Ahmad, during his budget speech, termed the mini-budget a black warrant and replica of the policies adopted by Usman Empire, which ultimately led to its destruction. He recalled how the incumbent finance minister, a week before being installed, said that economy had been destroyed and on becoming cabinet member, he said the economy was on sound footing.

Senator Rana proposed to the House an amendment to the Constitution to ban use of term ‘sadiq and amin’. “Here, they take name of Mustafa and resort to actions like Abu Lahab,” he charged.

Senator Ejaz Chaudhry blamed the past governments of PMLN and PPP for the financial woes of Pakistan and wondered if anyone had ever, serving jail term, given the kind of relief Nawaz Sharif was given from the courts for treatment, who promised to return in eight weeks. “Convicted persons are not allowed to take part in funeral of their loved ones even,” he noted.

He agreed with a suggestion by Senator Rukhsana Zuberi that the over 1100 legislators should adopt austerity and the senators should stop taking concessions until the life of the common man changes for the better.

“Are we all ready to say enough is enough as Brazil said to IMF? Why we forget that both PPP and PMLN went to IMF 15 times and the dictators too approached IMF, and when we do so, hue and cry is raised. It is the economic mess left by them that forces us to take loans,” he said. Senator Zuberi also wanted the lawmakers to have retrospection in the backdrop of the economic situation with references to the privileged they enjoyed and governments functionaries must also desist from taking transport allowance and services of drivers and availability of vehicles too while the retired officers should go home and let the deserving people take their place.

PTI Senator Walid Iqbal said the government’s economic policies and social protection measures are the news of good days ahead. He added rejecting IMF demand of Rs700 billion, PM Imran Khan agreed to Rs350 billion taxation measures, which would have minimal impact of the common man.

The government, he noted, would go for targeted subsidies instead of tax exemptions, adding the government was taking steps for documented economy and expansion of tax net.

JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmad warned the mini-budget would cause increase in prices of 150 commodities and more people would fall below the poverty line, become jobless and as a result there would be massive increase in crimes.

He pointed out on one hand, the government was claiming that all the economic targets had been achieved in the last six month while on the other, it had presented a mini-budget in the Parliament that billed as an instrument of surrender to IMF and economic carnage of masses. “People will take revenge for this economic terrorism one day. The country has been mortgaged to the donor agencies and SBP also handed over to IMF,” he alleged.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed clarified that it was a finance bill and not the mini-budget. He claimed 82 per cent of total loans were obtained by the past regimes. He said PTI government was the first one, which admitted there was inflation and it would come down within 3-4 months.

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