The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) rejected a proposal to tax the agriculture sector in fiscal 2012-13, placing itself squarely against not just the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party, which had tabled the proposal on Monday, but also its own ally Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) who floated the idea first.
“PPP does not back the agricultural tax proposal,” ruling party Senator Saeed Ghani said, while debating the budget in the Senate.
“Punjab can collect tax on agriculture … but we will not – at least in Sindh and Balochistan,” Ghani said.
He also accused the Punjab government of not recovering Rs23 billion that went missing during the last fiscal.
Ghani also criticised the judiciary for its “unnecessary intervention in the affairs of the executive.” Undue judicial activism has kept foreign investors at bay, he said.
“Whenever foreign investors came, the judiciary, on a reporter’s story, took suo motu notice and discarded the deal,” Ghani added.
Then, Deputy Chairman Senate Sabir Baloch had directed Attorney General Irfan Qadir to brief the House on the issue of dual nationality later in the evening. Qadir, however, has yet to brief the Upper House.
Senator Haji Adeel of the Awami National Party (ANP) initiated the debate on budget and suggested that extra relief should not be given to retired military men and bureaucrats.
“They are being given two plots and Rs0.5 million after retirement, which is unfair,” Adeel said.
He also said that the government did not take his party into confidence on some proposals which are now a part of the budget.
At this point, PML-N’s lawmaker Raja Zafarul Haq hit out at the government, saying it even left its allies in the dark while preparing budget proposals.
The opposition PML-N staged a walkout for a third consecutive day, blaming Deputy Chairman Sabir Baloch for not giving a floor to its lawmakers to debate the budget.
PML-N’s Raja Zafarul Haq accused Baloch of discriminating against his party’s lawmakers.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2012.
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