The Pakistan Peoples Party demanded on Wednesday the government honour its commitment and ensure completion of the western route of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“This needs to be done on priority otherwise the project will become controversial,” PPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said on the floor of the Senate while referring to the prime minister’s commitment during the all parties’ conference (APC) held on May 28. “Once the project is made controversial, it will never materialise. It is a dangerous message and against progress of the country,” he added.
Babar said that a 16% allocation for the western route is actually a political statement reinforcing that the government is prioritizing the eastern route. He demanded the government revise allocations of funds in the PSDP.
Talking about the defence budget, Senator Babar said the 10-11% increase was justified in view of the multifarious challenges. However, he said the increases should be linked to mechanisms of accountability. He also questioned the rationale for not reflecting defence sector pensions of over 150 billion as part of the defence budget.
PML-N Senator M Hamza endorsed the views and suggested the government take the upper house of parliament into confidence and hold meetings before its presentation.
PML-Q Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed underscored that the greatest challenge facing us and a major impediment to the economic growth is terrorism. He added that national security and counterterrorism should be a top priority for the government and therefore funds should be allocated accordingly.
Senator Sitara Ayaz from the ANP said there were so many proposals in the budget but it lacked practical steps and was seemingly aimed at the 2018 general elections.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2015.
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