PPP chief Bilawal refuses to address NA budget session

PPP MNAs have been criticising certain aspects of the national budget in their speeches in NA

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Our Correspondent
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing the National Assembly in Islamabad on April 26, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari addressing the National Assembly in Islamabad on April 26, 2023. — Twitter/@NAofPakistan

  • Differences between PPP, PML-N's have emerged in recent days.
  • PPP MNAs criticised certain aspects of the budget in their NA speeches.
  • Bilawal also did not partake in high-level negotiations with PML-N.


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has declined to speak on the budget in the National Assembly.

Federal Minister for Commerce and Parliamentary group leader of the PPP in the National Assembly Syed Naveed Qamar told The News Monday in Parliament House that Bilawal wouldn't speak on the budget in the NA.

Significantly, Bilawal also did not participate in the high-level two-round negotiations with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) about budget proposals and especially IMF's allocations for Sindh which are said to be one of the thorny issues between the two coalition partners.

The first round was conducted and chaired by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, aimed at resolving the issue over budgetary allocations for the flood victims of Sindh and other fiscal issues, and concluded on Monday evening.

The development is viewed as a 'setback' in the wake of the newly emerged differences between the PPP and the ruling PML-N.

The PPP MNAs have been criticising certain aspects of the national budget in their speeches in NA, but they have yet to plan to bring about cut motions in the budgetary allocations.

If any of their members tables such proposals, it would be tantamount to acting as the opposition's role.

The general discussion on the budget was scheduled to wind up on Saturday last (June 17), but it was extended for two days in the hope of Bilawal's speech.

The finance bill and supplementary budget adoption have also been deferred for a day, and now the budget will be passed on Saturday, June 24, instead of a day earlier.

Sources revealed that the amendment in the Pakistan Election Act, passed by the Senate last week to reduce disqualification from contesting elections to five years in any offence, would be laid in the National Assembly this week.

It is likely that this approved amendment bill would be submitted on Saturday when President Alvi would have gone to Saudi Arabia for Hajj.

In all likelihood, the acting president will accord his assent to converting it into law, the sources reminded.

Dar promises $11bn for Sindh flood victims

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar said earlier in the day the issue of rehabilitation of flood-affected people in Sindh as well as other parts of the country, would be resolved amicably, and roughly $11 billion would be spent in Sindh province for the purpose.

Dar, while mentioning that there were no differences between PML-N and PPP, also called for making efforts to finalise a 'Charter of Economy' once the federal budget session of the house was over.

"I think once the budget is approved, all-out efforts should be made to prepare a 'Charter of Economy' to come out of the mess in which the nation had mired lately," the finance minister said.

He said now the declining graph of the national economy had stopped and it had attained stability; there was a need to make collective efforts to take it towards a growth trajectory, which the grace of Allah Almighty would achieve.

He said the current financial crisis was more significant than the one in 1999 when the nuclear tests were carried out, and the country faced international sanctions, adding that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government had overcome it quickly.

The minister said that initially, the Charter of Democracy (CoD) was signed with the 'code of conduct' that whosoever would be elected to power should not be backstabbed.

It followed civil-military relations and constitutional amendments, resulting in the 18th Amendment, NFC Award, legal reforms, and truth reconciliation commission, saying that he was also part of the process that continued for four years.

Dar said he had constantly advocated and offered to devise a 'Charter of Economy' so that whosoever came to power followed it in the best national interest.