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Friday Jun 18 2021
Web Desk

Budget and budget session illegal; indicators of economic growth false: Bilawal

Web Desk
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaking during the session of the National Assembly on June 18, 2021.— Photo courtesy Twitter/National Assembly of Pakistan
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari speaking during the session of the National Assembly on June 18, 2021.— Photo courtesy Twitter/National Assembly of Pakistan
  • Bilawal says if nothing else, the PTI govt at least improved the population of donkeys in the country, for which PM Imran Khan should be congratulated.
  • Says likening the country, which is being ruled by an "illegitimate government," to the state of Madina is not appropriate.
  • Says the masses are aware of the fact that "claims of 4% growth are based on lies."

Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Friday that both the budget and the budget session of the PTI-led government are "illegal."

Speaking during a session of the National Assembly, which was being conducted under the chairmanship of National Assembly's Speaker Asad Qaiser, Bilawal said that it seems the government is playing the role of the Opposition instead of running the country.

Criticising Prime Minister Imran Khan famous rhetoric, Bilawal said that likening the country — which is being ruled by an "illegitimate government" — to the state of Madina is not appropriate. 

Speaking about the budget recently presented by the PTI-led government, Bilawal said  the masses are aware of the fact that "claims of 4% growth are based on lies."

"I think both this budget and the budget session are illegal," he said, adding that ever since the government has taken over, no new National Finance Commission (NFC) award has been given to provinces. 

It should be noted that the NFC award is meant to distribute financial resources between the federal government and the provinces. 

"Every budget will be unconstitutional until the NFC award is given," said Bilawal.

Shedding light on the growing inflation in the country, Bilawal said that the PTI government has "abandoned people and left them in a destitute condition."

He said that people will never forgive the government for further pushing them below the poverty line.

"If the budget raises petrol, gas, and electricity prices, then every Pakistani has to bear the burden of the government's incompetence," said Bilawal, adding that had there been economic growth, so many people would not be unemployed. 

"The prime minister had promised to grant 10 million jobs to people, but on the contrary, even those who were previously employed have now been rendered jobless," the PPP chairman said.

Bilawal said that if the country has seen economic growth, as claimed by the PTI-led government, then why does it have to "beg before the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?"

"If the economy has significantly improved, then the government should immediately opt out of the IMF's deal," he said.

Taking a jibe at the government once again, Bilawal said that as per the economic survey, if nothing else, the population of donkeys has increased in the country, for which Prime Minister Imran Khan's policies must be lauded. 

Bilawal further said that the PTI government did not even spare Azad Jammu and Kashmir and burdened the people there with the imposition of taxes. 

He said that only Rs12 billion had been earmarked for the agricultural sector, which is the backbone of the economy. 

"The government has abandoned the farmer community. They have not even been provided with fertiliser subsidy," said Bilawal.

Government's response 

Reacting to Bilawal's comments, Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar delivered his speech during the National Assembly session and challenged the Opposition, saying: "If they are brave enough to listen to the truth, then they should stay in the House till the end."

Mocking the way Bilawal kept switching between English and Urdu during his speech, Hammad Azhar implied that oratory skills are not enough to remove the stains of corruption from someone's character.

"Those who have never done anything to improve the country's economy and have no knowledge thereof delivered an immature speech on the government's budget and economic policies," he said.

He asked the Opposition to go through the budget documents once again and point out what taxes, as they claim, have been levied in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. 

Azhar said that the rate of inflation was higher during the tenure of the PPP government, adding that it was the PPP that went to the IMF more than any other government in the past.

"It looks like the Opposition is having a hard time digesting that the country has achieved a 4% growth under the rule of the PTI," said Azhar, adding that the PPP could not even achieve 1% growth during its five-year tenure.

'Budget fake, pockets of people empty': Shahbaz

A day earlier, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif had also delivered his speech after three days of ruckus in the National Assembly.

Shahbaz, referring to the 21 government bills that were passed on June 10, had said the lawmaking done a few days ago has flaws in it.

The Opposition leader slammed the government, saying the budget was "fake", as the pockets of the poor people were "empty" and they were not able to feed their families.

"In three years, 20 million people have been pushed below the poverty line, while the growth rate has come down drastically in the last year," he had said.

Shahbaz, further slamming the government, said it had devoted its energy to revenge instead of accountability. "The Opposition has been subjected to the worst kind of revenge."

PPP's Khurshid Shah, his son, and PML-N's Khawaja Asif remain behind bars till date, Shahbaz lamented.

'PM's seat remains empty'

Shahbaz had said during the PML-N's government the International Monetary Fund's programme had been completed, but now, the progress has reversed during PTI's three years.

"The government should inform the Opposition about the conditions of the IMF," he said, as the government keeps reiterating that the international money lender had imposed harsh conditions.

The Opposition leader slammed the prime minister for not taking the house in confidence.

Shahbaz, pointing towards the prime minister's seat, said: "This seat remains empty when there is a discussion on Afghanistan; this seat remains empty when there is a discussion on Palestine and Kashmir, this seat remains empty when there is a discussion on inflation and unemployment; this seat remains empty when there is a discussion on coronavirus."

Taking a jibe at PM Imran Khan again, Shahbaz said that before his election, he stood upon a container and made tall claims about ending corruption from the country, but failed to do so.

"Today, the practice of giving and taking bribes has become rampant in Punjab [under the PTI government's rule]," he said.

Shahbaz also talked about the efforts the previous PML-N government employed to make Pakistan better and said that it was Nawaz Sharif who eliminated several problems of the country, including terrorism, electricity load shedding, and patwari culture because he had all the provinces on the same page.