While all political parties have set their agendas to carry out a constructive debate today over the budget for the fiscal year 2012-13, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz plans to launch a strong protest instead.
PML-N parliamentarians are busy chalking out a plan to stage protests in both houses of parliament to demonstrate their demands.
PML-N Information Secretary Senator Mushahidullah Khan told The Express Tribune that the party is also likely to boycott budget proceedings in protest over Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s refusal to resign from his position.
“After detailed consultations with the PML-N’s finance team and members, our party chief Nawaz Sharif has decided to stay away from the budget proceedings,” Khan said.
He added that party members in Senate and the National Assembly will neither give speeches on the budget nor will they present cut motions and amendments as the government has never accepted any of suggestions given by the PML-N during the last four years. “It’s a useless exercise,” he said.
PML-Quaid Senator Kamil Ali Agha said that his party is all set to present its proposals regarding petroleum levies and hydel power projects in the country. These proposals, he added, have been drafted with the help of economy experts.
Agha said the party hopes that the government would give due consideration to their proposals.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement leader Farooq Sattar said that his party started compiling suggestions for the government ever since last year’s budget was presented.
“Luckily, we tabled our proposals well in time before the federal government in order to revive the economy and stabilise the country,” he said, adding that “the MQM’s shadow budget is an evidence of that effort.”
Sattar went on to say that the government should focus on increasing investment opportunities. He added that petroleum levy should be abolished altogether. Widening the tax net is also one of their major demands.
The MQM leader said that if the demands of elected representatives were not considered by the government, people would never repeat the mistake of choosing the wrong rulers of the country in the next year.
Awami National Party General Secretary Zahid Khan said that his party would definitely take a vigorous part in the budget proceedings but would also stand by the government if any untoward incident initiated by the PML-N occurs in parliament.
Zahid said that “being a major political party, the PML-N should not be a problem for democracy and instead it should participate enthusiastically in the proceedings of parliament.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Gilani directed PPP members on Sunday not to take part in any arguments during the budget session.
During a meeting with MNA Faryal Talpur, the premier also directed his party to “behave” when the PML-N presents the provincial budget, according to an official statement.
PPP members will strictly stay away from any disruption, undemocratic and unethical behaviour like the PML-N members demonstrated during the budget speech, it was decided in the meeting.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2012.