Bilawal meets PM Shehbaz over Budget 2024-25 concerns

Tensions within the ruling coalition have heightened over the federal budget

News Desk June 20, 2024
Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari calls on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif in Islamabad on February 15, 2023. PHOTO: PID

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has arrived at the Prime Minister’s House in Islamabad to meet Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to discuss concerns regarding the budget.

According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Thursday, a one-on-one meeting between PM Shehbaz and Bilawal is currently underway.

Bilawal is accompanied by Yousuf Raza Gilani, Khurshid Shah, Senator Sherry Rehman, Naveed Qamar, and Raja Pervaiz Ashraf at the Prime Minister's House.

Sources indicate that Bilawal will present his party’s reservations about the federal budget and issues pertaining to the federal and Punjab governments to the prime minister.

It is noteworthy that Prime Minister Shehbaz had invited Bilawal for discussions regarding the budget after extending Eid ul Adha greetings over the phone.

Also read: Bilawal to air budget grievances with PM

The meeting is taking place after tensions within the ruling coalition had heightened over the federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, according to sources.

The PPP has been at odds with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) over money bills both at the federal level and in Punjab.

The PPP believes that the PML-N is taking them for granted, particularly by excluding their input in the PSDP budget.

Sources revealed that Bilawal during today’s meeting will maintain his absence from the National Assembly’s budget session, adding that the PPP chairman will take the next step based on the results of the meeting with the premier.

If the meeting is successful, they added, there will be full participation in the session; otherwise, the parliamentary party will determine the course of action.

In this regard, insiders also said, PPP’s participation in today's budget session will also be symbolic.

PPP has nominated four members for token participation in the National Assembly session. Among those participating in the session will be Qadir Patel, Shabbir Ali Bijarani, Colonel Asad Niazi, and Agha Rafiullah.

It is pertinent to note that the PPP’s absence from the National Assembly’s budget session on June 12 was a clear sign of discontent.

Deputy Prime Minister Ishaq Dar had to make a beeline for Bilawal’s chamber to persuade the PPP to participate in the proceedings. However, Bilawal only sent three of his MNAs—Naveed Qamar, Khursheed Shah, and Ijaz Jakhrani—to represent the party.

The PPP feels that the PML-N has not only strayed from their post-election agreement but is also starting to take the PPP for granted.


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