Leader of the House Raja Zafarul Haq has said that Pakistan welcomed the dialogue between Taliban and the US in Doha and parliament would be taken into confidence regarding talks with the Taliban.
Responding to a point of order raised by Raza Rabbani and others regarding Pakistan’s status in the dialogue‚ Haq said parliament would be taken into confidence on any development in this regard. He said Pakistan had always been a part of the consultations and would also have a role in the current process.
The House also resumed discussion on the motion moved by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to make recommendations to the National Assembly on the Finance Bill‚ 2013-14.
Initiating the debate‚ Farah Aqil said the steps, including programmes for the youth and enhancement in HEC funds, were worth appreciation. He proposed that more funds must be allocated for Balochistan to improve law and order situation in the province.
Mohsin Leghari appreciated fifty percent increase in the Public Sector Development Programme but the extra burden on the taxpayers and one percent increase in the GST was unfair.
Saleem H Mandviwala said ten percent increase in the salaries of the government employees did not meet inflationary trends. He also criticised the thirty percent cut in the expenditure of the ministries and said this would result in the collapse of the ministries. He proposed the minimum wages must be fixed at Rs 12,000.
Haji Ghulam Ali criticised the increase in the GST and said it would result in inflation in the country. He proposed that FATA must be exempted from taxes to initiate industrial activities there.
Naseema Ehsan said twenty-five billion rupees had been allocated for Pay and Pension Reforms, but no relief had been provided to the government employees from the allocation.
She said services tax was the prerogative of the provinces and imposition of the services tax by the federal government was against the constitution.
Mukhtar Ahmad Dhamrah described the budget as anti-poor and pro-investor and said no relief had been provided to the common man in the budget.
He said overseas Pakistanis were contributing a lot, but no measures had been taken to provide relief to them.
Muhammad Zafarullah Khan said the government had presented a balanced budget in a difficult time. He said a number of steps had been taken for the uplift of the common man, including allocations for education‚ health and agriculture sectors. He said the decision to clear circular debt in two months would help to meet the energy crisis and speed up development activities in the country.
Dr Saeeda Iqbal proposed that allocations must be made for the special education and Pakistan Sweet Homes. She proposed that government must also pay due consideration to environmental issues and the funds must also be allocated for this purpose.
Senator Mukhtar Ajiz Dhamra of the PPPP said the government should have increased the salaries of government employees by 15 percent instead of 10 percent.
He urged the government to announce minimum wage for poor peasants.
The House was prorogued until today (Friday).