Senate seeks restoration of IIOJK previous status

Treasury, opposition members lock horns on budget


Our Correspondent June 23, 2021
PHOTO: AA/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution seeking the restoration of the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK) and end to the ongoing atrocities in the disputed territory.

The House also approved the Pakistan Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which delegates powers of the cabinet to the interior ministry as well as interior secretary to issue prohibited bore arms licences.

In the ongoing debate on the budget in the House, the treasury members termed the budget as “people- and business-friendly”.

However, the opposition members sharply criticised the budget and said that it would not address the economic woes of the people.

The resolution on IIOJK was moved by Senator Dr Zarqa Taimur of the ruling PTI.

The Senate chairman directed that copies of the resolution be sent to all embassies.

Also read: Pakistan takes India’s IIOJK move to UNSC

The former prime minister raised the question as to whether or not the finance minister could reduce the prices of flour, sugar, electricity and fuel.

“The budget carries no relief for the poor,” he added.

He further demanded that the House should pass a resolution against the presidential system.

He maintained that Defence Minister Pervez Khattak had come up with a “strange new economic formula” that “inflation would lead to growth”.

PML-N’s Khawaja Saad Rafique said the MNAs of his party should not have taken oath as advised by JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

Participating in the budget debate, Rafique said he was afraid to speak against the prime minister otherwise he would be sent to jail.

“No nation can achieve independence without economic autonomy. Economic instability arises when a popular leader is not recognised,” he added.

Hitting back, Federal Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan criticised the “confrontation politics” of the opposition parties, claiming that they were responsible for the ruckus in the House.

He said in 2018, the PTI government had received a deficit of $19 billion.

“We gave subsidies to the power sector and remittances have increased steadily,” he added, pointing out that opposition leaders did not want a new Pakistan but the old one instead.

The minister claimed that the farm sector was neglected by the previous governments.

“We increased the wheat support price to Rs1,800 per 40kg and that will benefit the farmers.”

Sarwar said the Ring Road project was needed by Rawalpindi but the previous governments did not pay any attention to its construction.

He pledged that the PTI government would complete the project in its tenure.

The minister also claimed that the country’s exports were witnessing growth because of the government’s policies.

Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said the budget would take the economy towards growth and address the problems of the people.

He said poor households would be given interest-free loans for the construction of their own houses.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan was working to strengthen institutions. Awan added that the government was serious for electoral reforms. “The use of electronic voting machines is important to ensure that the elections are acceptable to all.”

Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib said PM Imran had set an example of austerity by significantly reducing the expenditures of his house and office.

He added that the economy had grown by 4% during the current fiscal year despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said exports, remittances and foreign exchange reserves were increasing.

“We are taking the economy towards export led sustainable growth. The government is determined to take the country towards self-reliance and free it from the debt trap.

Farrukh said allocation for Ehsaas programme had been enhanced from Rs121 billion to Rs260 billion.

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