Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday shared on Twitter a couplet from Saraiki poetry and a picture of opposition leaders and members to illustrate their “humiliating defeat” in the National Assembly a day earlier.
The couplet was taken from the poetry of a prominent Saraiki-language poet, Shakir Shuja Abadi. “You are yourself wise Shakir… don’t ask for situation, just read our faces,” the couplet roughly means.
In the photo shared by the minister, opposition leaders and members can be seen sitting all gloomy after the government succeeded in having the bills of important nature passed in the lower house.
“Yet another defeat for opposition,” Fawad wrote in the tweet, expressing the hope that the opposition leaders would not be in parliament after the 2023 general elections.
The next elections would be the last polls for "Zardari group" (PPP) and "Noon League" (PML-N), he added.
On Thursday, the government and its allies had bulldozed the Finance (Supplementary) Bill, 2021 – or the “mini-budget” – and the SBP Amendment Bill 2021 through the National Assembly to ensure the country’s sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) was cleared by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board, paving the way for the disbursement of about $1 billion tranche.
Last month, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had introduced two bills in parliament to give effect to the Rs375 billion “mini-budget” and grant autonomy to the central bank.
Responding to the opposition’s queries, the minister had said the finance bill was not aimed at imposing new taxes but documentation of the economy to broaden the tax net.
Tarin had added that the government had decided not to withdraw tax exemptions on basic essential items including milk, bread, laptop and solar panels.
However, the government succumbed to pressure exerted by local car assemblers and increased the sales tax rate to 12.5% on the import of electric vehicles – even higher than the initial 5% rate it had proposed while introducing the “mini-budget”.
It also waived off 15% income tax in favour of a couple of wealthy families of the country.
The government suspended the rules of the National Assembly that require a minimum of two-day debate on any piece of legislation and gave the nod to the SBP Amendment Bill in haste – in just 48 minutes.
However, the government allowed a debate on the mini-budget and approved minor amendments to the Sales Tax Act, the Income Tax, the Customs Act and the Federal Excise Duty.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who before coming into power had vowed that he would not go to the IMF, remained present in the lower house of parliament till midnight to make sure that his disgruntled party members and allies voted to pass both the bills to meet the IMF conditions.
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