A delegation of MQM led by Dr Farooq Sattar met Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Monday and presented to him the draft of its shadow budget for 2012-2013, which was shared with the media by the party’s finance team a day earlier.
MQM said in the meeting that proposals should be discussed well before the budget is announced to avoid the need for mini-budgets later. It also discussed various development projects to determine the priorities for the next Annual Development Programme (ADP).
Sources said the prime minister assured the MQM delegation that the proposals mentioned in the shadow budget would be discussed before and during the cabinet meeting to be held to thrash out the final budget. The finance minister has already been directed to discuss the proposals with all the coalition partners as well as the opposition, they said.
While talking about some of the upcoming budget’s salient features, the premier said no new taxes would be imposed, providing electricity would be the top priority along with the creation of 100,000 jobs and providing relief to the poor through the Benazir Income Support Programme.
An MQM leader requesting anonymity told The Express Tribune that “although the prime minister claims that food security has been achieved and the country is exporting wheat and sugar due to the government’s policies, we don’t agree with the statement as the on-ground situation depicts an entirely different picture.”
Sources said the MQM, while discussing political issues, assured the prime minister of all-out support, saying that the party’s leader Altaf Hussain will stand by the premier in every constitutional move.
Earlier, Fata parliamentarians led by Haji Muneer Aurakzai and an Awami National Party delegation led by Haji Adeel also held separate meetings with the prime minister to discuss a range of key issues including the upcoming budget, law and order situation and the political atmosphere. Both delegations lauded the Speaker’s ruling in the contempt of court case and vowed to support the government to strengthen democracy.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2012.
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