Budget concerns: Bilawal Bhutto to meet PM Shehbaz today

PML-N says PPP's reservations to be addressed; National Assembly meets today to resume debate on budget

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This combo of images shows Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif (left) and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.— Facebook/Pakistan Peoples Party - PPP/AFP/File
  • PPP's concerns will be duly addressed, says PML-N leader.
  • Nasir Hussain Shah says party will not be joining govt.
  • National Assembly to meet today to resume debate on budget.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is set to meet Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif today to convey the party's reservations on the proposed budget for the fiscal year 2025, reported Geo News.

The development comes as the National Assembly is scheduled to resume the budget session today after a seven-day Eid break.

The PPP has censured the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led coalition government in the Centre for taking a "solo flight" and not taking it into confidence over the budget.

The Bilawal-led party had even announced boycotting the budget session last week — a decision the party recanted after Deputy Prime Minister Senator Ishaq Dar held multiple meetings with the PPP's top leaders to convince them otherwise.

For the ruling party, it is important to have the PPP's support as the PM Shehbaz-led coalition government does not have the luxury of a parliamentary majority to help it pass the budget smoothly.

Sources told The News that a Bilawal-led PPP delegation will meet the premier and will convey their reservations with regard to the political situation in Punjab as well as the issue of unreleased share of finances for Sindh.

Meanwhile, PPP Secretary Information Shazia Marri has confirmed the meeting and said: "The government reached out for the meeting and Bilawal will place the genuine PPP concerns before PM Shehbaz."

Last week, The News reported that the premier has decided to expand the federal cabinet inviting the PPP to join the government formally, a move that Bilawal's party has so far turned down and with the stance recently confirmed by PPP leader and provincial minister Nasir Hussain Shah as well.

The publication's report said that Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal has been given an important task by the PML-N leadership following which he has contacted Balochistan Chief Minister Sarfraz Bugti and Qamar Zaman Kaira on the issue.

Despite PML-N leader Tariq Fazal Chaudhry's statement during Geo News' programme "Capital Talk" that the PPP's concerns will be duly addressed, the situation remains ambiguous.

The government has less than two weeks to get parliamentary approval as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has told the Pakistani authorities to include its guidelines in the budget.

Pakistan has approached the Washington-based lender for a new bailout package while the taxation measures announced by Federal Minister Mohammad Aurangzeb in the budget have been rejected by the trade bodies.

However, the government has clarified that it has to meet the revenue targets to get the loan from IMF.