- PPP chief says budget designed to break federation
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari on Tuesday rejected the federal budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 announced by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last week, saying it “was designed to break the federation”.
“Seems this budget has been designed to break the federation. We reject one-unit budget for Punjabistan,” Bilawal posted on his official Twitter account, signalling that other provinces were not given equal importance in the budget.
Opposition parties have already rejected the budget, and termed it “a jugglery of words”.
Sindh Minister Sharmilla Farooqi, defending Bilawal’s statement, said the PPP always stood for the federation and never differentiated between the provinces.
“We would like an equal share for all provinces; the incumbent government only cares for Punjab,” said Farooqi.
She also questioned why there was no mention of the Rs600bn circular debt in the budget.
Senior PPP leader Sherry Rehman also rejected the budget, saying it was “made by PM of Punjab”. She said her speech during the budget debate would elaborate more on the subject. Shah further said the budget was not ‘public friendly’.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had presented the budget on June 3, last Friday, with an outlay of 43.9 trillion.
Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah had opened the budget session in place of the finance minister, and had questioned its legality in the absence of constitutionally-mandated National Finance Commission (NFC) which, he said, was a clear violation of the Article 160 of the Constitution.
Commenting on the budget, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Sirajul Haq said the budget only made death affordable for the poor.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the speech made by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was disappointing, adding that stories made in the past were repeated.
Awami Muslim League (AML) leader Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad said the finance minister presented wrong statistics before the people.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Dr Farooq Sattar also termed the budget as “disappointing”.