Opposition senators assail ‘IMF budget’

Treasury tells House it will take time to rein in inflation

Our Correspondent June 15, 2024
Opposition senators assail ‘IMF budget’


A fiery debate on the federal budget proposed for the next financial year continued in the Senate on Friday as the opposition parties described it as one dictated by the IMF.

The senators belonging to the Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) and JUI-F were particularly harsh in their criticism of the budget while those on the other side of the aisle insisted that it would take time to bring down the prices of essential items.

During the session presided over by Senate Chairman Yousuf Raza Gilani, MWM chief Raja Nasir Abbas said the proposed budget would adversely affect the middle class the most.

He pointed out that more taxes had been imposed on the salaried class.

“The class division will increase,” he added.

He sarcastically noted that some expert should prepare a household budget in just Rs36,000.

Abbas maintained that 35 of the 55 flour mills in Faisalabad were closed and the industrial sector was sinking. He continued that there was no focus on the export industry and the government was not providing facilities to the sector.

“We are not buying oil and gas from the neighbouring country [Iran] because we are afraid of the US,” he said.

“We only see the IMF as the solution to the country’s economic crisis.”

The MWM chief stressed the need for Pakistan to improve its ties with the Central Asian and Arab countries. “The assets of the elite class are abroad, while the poor in the country are being crushed.”

Parliamentary leader of JUI-F, Senator Maulana Attaur Rehman, said it appeared as if the proposed budget was prepared to benefit the class.

“I think this budget was made for the establishment at gunpoint,” he claimed.

He continued that after some time, the people would “hold our necks” because the budget would squeeze them into this position.

The JUI-F senator maintained that the establishment was devouring the entire country while giving away some leftovers to the government.

“Today the government doesn’t even have the power to change a deputy commissioner,” he claimed, adding that the establishment was making the politicians sit down and discuss the budget so that it could appear that they were the ones responsible for it.

The opposition senator said the polls were laced with injustice, raising the question about why the elections to the upper house of parliament were not being held in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Senator Sarmad Ali of the PPP said the country had limited resources but its problems were unlimited.

He added that half of the expenses would be spent on repaying the debts.

Senator Nasir Mehmood Butt of the ruling PML-N said the opposition made noise during the speeches of the government lawmakers even after talking about their personal matters.

To the criticism, he replied that inflation had started increasing from 2018 and it would take time to control it.

He added that after not receiving any response from the ones it wanted to talk to, the opposition, apparently referring to the PTI, was now ready to engage in a process of dialogue with the government.

The PML-N senator noted that despite all the statements the PTI had issued about JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, its members were unwilling to participate in the prayers he was leading.


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