PTI MP’s remarks stir uproar in Senate

Opposition terms budget anti-people, govt imposing hefty taxes on people

Khalid Mehmood June 21, 2024


The Senate session on Thursday was marred by pandemonium after PTI lawmaker Humayun Mohmand claimed that the government was “scared” of their party’s founding chairman, prompting the deputy chairman to turn off his mic.

Debate on the budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 formally opened in the upper house after the Eidul Azha holidays with Deputy Chairman Syedaal Khan presiding the session.

Last week, the government unveiled an unrealistic Rs18.9 trillion highly inflationary budget, aiming to keep political allies sweet with lavish spending promises while trying to appease the IMF with an unprecedented slew of new taxes.

The budget, a hefty 30 percent or Rs4.4 trillion jump from the previous year, is a fiscal balancing act that’s set to strain credulity. It boasts record-high allocations for interest payments, defense, and development, making any claim of fiscal consolidation a pipe dream.

On Thursday, PTI’s Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar questioned the absence of the finance minister from the budget session, asking how come the recommendations would be considered.

The deputy chairman took notice of the finance minister’s absence and directed the secretariat to call him at the earliest.

Barrister Zafar termed the budget “anti-people”, saying the government was imposing hefty taxes on the people, and noted that PTI would “completely reject” it.

He warned that if the budget was approved in its current form, a popular uprising in the country could soon follow.

PTI’s Humayun Mohmand maintained that the government was scared of their founding chairman, which led the deputy chairman to turn off his mic. Following the move, the PTI lawmakers continued their protest in the House.

The senators on both sides of the aisle called for revising proposed taxes on the salaried class, medicines, cement industry, and property business, besides minimizing power load-shedding in the country.

Kamran Murtaza of the JUI-F noted that the federal consolidated funds needed to be discussed at the forum. He regretted that three governments remained in power but a new National Finance Commission Award had been announced in violation of Article 160 of the Constitution.

Quratulain Marri of the PPP observed that an amount of Rs150 billion had been allocated for electricity, claiming that a 20-hour load-shedding was being carried out in her constituency.  Similarly, Rs22 billion was earmarked for gas, which was also in short supply, she added.

Faisal Vawda alleged that the PTI government had delayed the issuance of an SRO to benefit a specific automobile industry.

Later, the Senate session was adjourned due to a lack of quorum and is scheduled to reconvene on Friday (today).


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