Opp leaders reject federal budget, call it ‘anti-people’

All major opposition parties, including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) on Friday denounced the budget for fiscal year 2016-17 as ‘anti-people’.

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly from the PPP, Khursheed Shah said his party rejected the “anti-poor budget”, saying the people were being subjected to more indirect taxation.

PTI senior leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi deplored the imposition of “more indirect taxes on people in the form of withholding taxes”.

“One word ‘withholding tax’ was repeatedly heard in the National Assembly,” Qureshi said while referring to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s budgetary proposals for the fiscal year (FY) 2016-17.

“More indirect taxes have been imposed on people in the name of withholding taxes,” he said.

Qureshi said that the government missed most of its targets. “In every budget, targets are set by the government and by the end of the year, an economic survey is printed with the caption of missed targets,” he said.

About a special package for farmers, he said that the announcement was a repetition of Kissan Package.

“Although Kissan Package was announced, it was never implemented,” he said, adding that any relief announced in the package was linked with sharing of provinces.

He said that the support price mechanism, which was the major demand of farmers, was not accepted by the government.

Reacting to the budgetary proposals made by Dar in the National Assembly, PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen said that there were a few steps for farmers, but overall it was a disappointing budget.

He said that nothing was proposed to bring reforms in taxation system.

PTI MNA Asad Umar ‏said that more reliance on indirect taxes in the new budget is nothing but to further burden the middle and poor sections was quite unfortunate.

He said that there was no mention in the budget speech to bring back looted wealth from abroad and about measures for fighting corruption.

He said that the government 4th budget is also for IMF, as people of Pakistan are still waiting for a budget for their welfare.

Commenting on the budget, JI chief Sirajul Haq said that there was nothing new for the masses in the budget.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement veteran leader Dr Farooq Sattar called the budget for FY 2016-17 as traditional and anti-people and said the session was called to befool the people once again.

Sattar demanded that petroleum levy, which he dubbed as extortion, should be abolished so as to give relief to the masses.

MQM leader Mian Atiq said that how could a budget be good if it was a deficit budget.

PPP leader Ramesh Lal said that it was a ‘zalimana’ budget.

Awami National Party (ANP) leader Ameer Haider Khan Hoti said that it was quite unfortunate that the tax exemption given to conflict-hit areas were taken back, while tax exemptions were proposed to a number of sectors.

Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) chief Aftab Ahmad Sherpao called the budget as anti-poor and jugglery of words, which was beyond public comprehension.

As per expectations, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) leader and federal minister Akram Khan Durrani termed the budget as ideal in the prevailing circumstance.

Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry said that the world acknowledge the incumbent government’s economic policies, which had put the country on the trajectory of economic stability.

He said that the PML-N will welcome viable and good suggestions by the opposition political parties; however they have to shun the practice of criticism for the sake of criticism.

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