As the government unveiled the federal budget for 2013-14, the reaction from opposition parties was that of disappointment.
While a few described it as an ‘opportunity missed’ to reduce poverty others termed it a ‘traditional budget’.
Majority of them were of the opinion that the budget offers no relief for the masses and does not provide a lasting solution to the economic woes of the country. “This budget is not people-friendly” is how the opposition leaders put it.
“The poor have nothing to do with this budget...it will only push them [poor] into a blind alley of poverty,” said Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf President Javed Hashmi on Wednesday.
The Pakistan Peoples Party, which is the largest opposition party, criticised the government over a number of its decisions.
“PML-N has not fulfilled its promise of raising minimum wages to Rs15, 000,” recalled Syed Khurshid Shah, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. He added that the increase in general sales tax would also directly affect the masses and hike the inflation in the country.
PML-N’s decision to change the name of ‘Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme’ also evoked negative statements from the party. Condemning the government’s decision spokesman for Bilawal House Eijaz Durrani termed it ‘violation’ of Charter of Democracy signed between PPP leader Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Farooq Sattar said that after the 18th Amendment, most of the subjects have been devolved to the provinces. Thus, the federal budget should have been reduced.
JUI-F criticised PML-N for not focusing on the energy crisis. “Maximum budget allocation should be spared to overcome the energy crisis,” Asia Nasir of the JUI-F recommended.
Senator Zahid Khan of Awami National Party said that the government had presented a shadow budget.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 13th, 2013.
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