MNAs give mixed response on federal budget

ISLAMABAD (APP): Parliamentarians from both opposition and treasury benches in the National Assembly on Saturday continued debate on the federal budget for fiscal year 2021-22.
The treasury benches lauded the government for presenting people-friendly budget with no new tax while the opposition members criticized that no relief was given to the masses in the budget. Resuming budget debate, Abdul Qadir Patel of Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarian (PPPP) said the government set unrealistic revenue collection target which could not be achieved.
He claimed that the government could not achieve any single target set for the current fiscal year. He alleged that excessive borrowing was done with no visible development programme. Abdul Qadir said prices of essential items witnessed 30 per cent increase during the last three years while the people’s income remained same.
He said Benazir Income Support Programme was set up through act of parliament and it could not be packed up without the parliament nod.
Niaz Ahmed Jakhar of Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) while taking part in the budget debate, said criticism should not be for sake of criticism rather it should be constructive.
Contrary to the opposition claims, he said no new tax was imposed in the budget and very soon people would see its fruits.
He said the government has presented welfare oriented budget despite challenge of COVID-19. He said the PTI led government has put the country on road of progress and prosperity. All the socio indicators also reflected that the country was making progress, he added.
He said interest free loans were announced for the business and farmers in the budget. People could get upto Rs 0.5 million interest free loan for business and Rs 2,50,000 for agriculture, he added.
He said PTI government introduced health cards for the all people irrespective of caste, creed and affiliation. He also expressed the hope that dream of South Punjab province would materialized as separate secretariat has already been inaugurated. Taking part in the debate, Khurram Dastagir of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) said fudge figures were given in the budget. He said unrealistic revenue collection target was fixed for the next year which could not be achieved.
He said political leaders including Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Syed Khursheed Shah and Ali Wazir were in jails but their production orders were not issued. He urged the chair to issue production orders of detained members so they could represent their constituencies.
He said despite bumper crops, prices of flour and sugar remained high. He went on to say that the power theft has increased while recoveries have decreased due to in-efficiency of the government. Shehryar Afridi of PTI said the whole world appreciated the steps taken by Pakistan during COVID-19. He said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister laid the foundation of Welfare state on the pattern of Riyasat e Madina.
He said keeping in view, the Ehsaas programme of the government, even UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency gave financial package to the Afghan refugees.
The PM has successfully raised Palestine, Kashmir and Islamophobia issues at all international fora, he added.
Coming hard on the past PML-N government, he said that the then interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan had conceded presence of black water in the capital. The PML-N government not only provide bases to USA for carrying out drone attacks but also received hefty funds under head of collateral damage, he added.
He said thousands Computerized National Identity Cards of Pashtoons were blocked during the PML-N regime. He said the government allocated huge amount of Rs 260 billion for the uplift and welfare of the poor segment of the society in the budget. He said the government inherited huge current account deficit of US $ 19.8 billion which now was in surplus. The country’s exports witnessed unprecedented surged and stood at US $ over 25 billion owing to the prudent policies of the government, he added.
Shehryar said those industrialists who had left the country during PML-N regime were now coming back and again set up their industries in Pakistan.
The per capita income has jumped to US $ 1500 from US $ 1300, he said. He said global perception about Pakistan has totally been changed and now Pakistan was leading owing to the policies introduced by the government. Regarding National Accountability Bureau cases, Afridi said these cases were registered by PML-N and PPPP against the leaderships of each other.
He urged the fugitive leaders to come back to the country and face their cases in courts of law. He also urged the opposition to come to parliament and support the government into bringing reforms in criminal and judicial system. Independent MNA from North Waziristan, Mohsin Dawar underlined the need for issuing production orders of all those parliamentarians who were in jail so that they could participate in the federal budget debate and represent their constituencies. He said the government should further increase the minimum wage of laborers that had been fixed at Rs 20,000 per month declaring it “insufficient,” and asked for true implementation on it (minimum wage).
He was of the view that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province was not getting its due share of net hydel profit as per the AGN Kazi committee formula, asking the federal government to ensure early payment of overdue amount. Raja Khurram Nawaz of PTI congratulated Prime Minister Imran Khan and its economic team for presenting such a relief-oriented budget despite financial constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
He said the PM had highlighted the Kashmir issue at all every fora in an effective manner that was not only being acknowledged by the oppressed people of Illegal Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir but the whole world. He expressed confidence that the country would progress under the wise leadership of PM Imran Khan.
He said before the PTI government after coming into power improved the conditions of hospitals and basic health units of Islamabad, which were accommodating patients from adjoining localities including Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
Nawabzada Iftikhar Ahmed of PPPP did not agree with the figure of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rate achieved during the current fiscal year, and said the inflation had increased that caused difficulties for the common man.
He asked the government to set up a university in district Muzaffargarh as the area was missing the facility and students were in its dire need. He also highlighted the civic issues, including scarcity of water, being confronted by people of his constituency Shaheen Naz Saifullah of PTI said the incumbent government had initiated massive welfare activities across the country to mitigate sufferings of the common man including housing, free-food centers Langar Khanas and shelters homes as the previous governments had been chanting hollow slogans of “roti, kapda aur makan (food, clothing and shelter)”.
She stressed the need for making collective efforts for national progress and development. Sajid Mehdi of PML-N said the agriculture sector was considered the backbone of the national economy but it was unfortunate that no government paid due attention towards strengthening this sector during the last 73 years.
He called for evolving an effective mechanism to produce pesticides locally and promote research and development activities in the agriculture sector, besides bringing down the fertilizer prices to increase the agricultural production in the country. Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Shehryar Khan Afridi Saturday urged the opposition parties not to misuse Kashmir dispute for their petty personal and political objectives.
Taking part in the budget debate in the National Assembly, Shehryar Afridi said that the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has requested the Pakistani political parties not to use Kashmir cause for petty political gains as it breaks the hearts and resolve of millions of Kashmiris fighting to free Jammu and Kashmiri from illegal Indian occupation.
He said that due to the wise strategy adopted by Prime Minister Imran Khan, Pakistan was swiftly defeating the Covid-19 Pandemic. “The whole world today is praising Pakistan and our Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic,” he said.
Shehryar Afridi blamed the past governments for making secret deals with the US for conducting drone strikes in Pakistan. “Today no one can dare think of conducting a drone attack in Pakistan. Who blocked the Pashtun ID Cards? In past regimes, the governments used to portray Pashtuns as terrorists in the mock exercises. Who used to call Rao Anwar as his favorite son? Who blocked Pashtuns from entering NADRA offices,” argued Afridi.
He asked the PPP to respond why Sindh government is not giving 3% share from divisible pool for development of FATA despite making a commitment.
“Why the PML-N and PPP governments did not take any measure to secure the sovereignty of the country,” he argued.
Afridi said that Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered to give Rs 12,000 to each family Afghan refugees during the lockdown. He said that Imran Khan also stood tall to fight the case of Muslims and raised his voice against Islamophobia at the world’s top forums. He said that PM Khan also convinced the western world top respect the holy Prophet (PBUH) at the UNGA and the OIC.
He said that the PTI government took action against land mafia and got vacated millions of acres of state land from mafia thugs. He said that 33,000 kanals of state land was recovered from a property tycoon in Islamabad during the anti-encroachment drive. “Imran Khan’s government took direct action against 1000 Benami properties. Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif did not utter a single word for Kashmir but he was fond of having meetings with Narendra Modi and Sajan Jindal for his petty personal gains. Sharif also made baseless claims about our missile programme,” he added.
Afridi also said that Shahid Khaqan Abbasi threatened speaker National Assembly of hurling shoe at him but he did not say a single word when Abbasi was mistreated at US airport despite being the prime minister of Pakistan.
“After all, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the Prime Minister of my country. Where was his pride despite mistreatment meted out to him at the American airport? It is only Imran Khan who can refuse Pakistani bases to the American administration,” he said. Blaming PDM Chairman Maulana Fazlur Rehman for using politics for petty personal gains, Shehryar Afridi said that the JUI chief had formed a united front including PTI against Nawaz Sharif’s government in the name of development agenda of southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“But hours after the front was announced, Fazlur Rehman struck a deal with Nawaz Sharif and got Akram Durrani installed as federal minister. Later, the Maulana never talked about the development of southern districts of KP,” he added. He said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif did not dare to mention the name of Kulbhushan Jhadav for four years.
“The opposition should strengthen the hand of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Bring back your fugitive leaders and return the looted wealth and support Imran Khan in making the beloved homeland a developed country. It’s time to dump your corrupt leaders and move on with Imran Khan,” he said.
He said for the first time in history, development is underway in the southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today and the 350 km-long motorway is being built for the development of the southern districts which will change the fate of the people of the southern districts.
“Under PM Khan, a new era of development has begun. For the first time in history, 10 big dams are being built, which is the best strategy to prevent drought. The PTI’s struggle to make the country prosperous and developed will change the destiny of the nation. The time has come for all forces to side with Imran Khan and play their part in the process of national development,” he concluded.