Senior civil servants of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) gave mixed reactions over the national budget announced on Friday. Where some describe it as people-friendly, others said it is redundant for the poor who are “suffering because of the poor policies of their rulers”.
Talking to media at the Kashmir Press Club, AJK Legislative Assembly Deputy Leader of Opposition Chaudhry Tariq Farooq expressed concern over the new budget and alleged that it is politically-motivated. “Half of the budget is deficit,” he lamented. He warned that as the government is focused on printing currency notes amounting to billions instead of giving due attention to the problems at hand, the country will suffer higher inflation in the coming days.
Markazi Anjuman-e-Tajran President Suhail Shujah Mujahid said that the budget is of no importance to the people, who are made to bear the “bomb of exceptional price hikes imposed every moth”. Given such conditions, no matter what the budget entails, the business community will suffer, he added.
The traders’ leader said the nation has been suffering because of the “grim energy crisis” during the past many years, but the government has not placed sufficient funds to control the situation.
In contrast, City Administrator and the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party’s stalwart, Charudry Manshaullah, said that the budget is “people-friendly”. To facilitate the people, the prices of cement and various daily use commodities have been reduced and no new tax has been imposed in the budget. He said that the reduction of sales tax from 18 per cent to 16 per cent will also directly benefit both buyers and sellers. He also welcomed the increase in salaries of government officials and in pensions of retired government officials.
A retired chief engineer of AJK Electricity Department, Tariq Mallick, lauded the increase in salaries and pensions. “In such times of inflation, the news is a sigh of relief,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2012.
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