Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Friday shared a couplet from Saraiki poetry and a picture of opposition leaders and members on Twitter to illustrate their “humiliating defeat” in the National Assembly the other day.
“You are yourself wise Shakir… don’t ask for situation, just read our faces,” the couplet roughly means.
The couplet was taken from the poetry of a prominent Saraiki-language poet Shakir Shuja Abadi.
In the photo shared by the minister, opposition leaders and members can be seen sitting with gloom after the government succeeded in getting the bills of important nature passed from the lower house yesterday.
“Yet another defeat for opposition,” Fawad said in the tweet, expressing the hope that the opposition leaders would not be in the Parliament after the 2023 general elections, while adding that the next elections would be the last polls for “Zardari group” and “Noon League”
It is pertinent to note that a day earlier, the government and its allies bulldozed Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021 and SBP Amendment Bill 2021 through the National Assembly to ensure its sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) gets cleared by the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board, paving the way for the disbursement of about $1 billion tranche.
Last month, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin introduced two bills in parliament to give effect to the Rs375 billion mini-budget and grant autonomy to the central bank.
Responding to the opposition’s queries, the finance minister said the finance bill was not aimed at imposing new taxes but documentation of the economy to broaden the tax net.
Tarin further stated that the government has decided not to withdraw tax exemptions on basic essential items such as milk, bread, laptop and solar panels.
It is to note that the government suspended the rules of the National Assembly that require a minimum of two-day debate on any piece of legislation and approved the SBP Amendment Bill in haste, in just 48 minutes.
The government succumbed to pressure exerted by local car assemblers and increased the sales tax rate to 12.5% on the import of electric vehicles — even higher than the initial 5% rate it had proposed while introducing the “mini-budget”.
It also waived off 15% income tax in favour of a couple of wealthy families of the country.
However, the government allowed a debate on the mini-budget and approved minor amendments to the Sales Tax Act, the Income Tax, the Customs Act and the Federal Excise Duty.
PM Imran Khan, who before coming into power had vowed that he would not go to the IMF, remained present in the lower house of parliament till midnight to make sure that his disgruntled party members and allies vote to pass both the bills to meet the IMF conditions.
The bill, which will now be taken up by the Senate for approval, has allowed the central bank to target price stability as it primary objective but does not set the explicit inflation target.
It is pertinent to note that the new bill has given the autonomy to the SBP, but neither parliament nor the federal government has the authority to remove the governor for missing the inflation target.