The provincial government has neither called a pre-budget session of the Punjab Assembly nor held a meeting of the cabinet to discuss the budget, said former federal law minister Babar Awan on Monday.
He criticised the government for not taking the lawmakers on board before announcing the budget for the upcoming year. He said the province would be announcing its budget without a finance minister this year. When a province had no designated finance minister, he said the chief minister was responsible for performing the tasks under the rules of procedure.
Awan was speaking at the Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary party meeting at the Punjab Assembly.
He said unlike the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNAs, PPP MPAs would not cause an uproar at the assembly during the budget session. He said they had decided to quietly listen to the speech and devise their debating strategy afterwards. He said if the budget fell short of their expectations, the PPP MPAs would propose changes.
He said some PPP members had insisted that the party follow the PML-N’s example in protesting at the Punjab Assembly during the budget speech, but the suggestion was rejected.
Awan criticised the PML-N MNAs for their behaviour during the budget session of the National Assembly. He said PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal had disgraced bread by throwing it towards the finance minister.
He said that the PML-N MNAs had violated the directives of their chief, Nawaz Sharif, and shown disrespect to the parliament. He said it appeared that some PML-N members wanted a repeat of politics of ‘80s and ‘90s. He said the PML-N should purge the party of such elements. He said the PML-N had been isolated politically and was now seeking support from parties that did not want the Federation to remain united.
Awan said the PPP was ready to offer support for passing the budget if the PML-N dissociated itself from the Unification Bloc MPAs.
“The PPP does not want to see its partner in fight against General Musharraf’s dictatorship violating the Charter of Democracy by seeking votes from Unification Bloc members to get the budget passed,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 7th, 2011.
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