NA to start debate on budget as PPP, PML-N resolve disapproval

The National Assembly on Monday is expected to start a general debate on the federal budget, presented by the government on June 11 as the new financial year is set to begin after two weeks.

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According to the parliamentary tradition, the opposition leader begins a general discussion on the federal budget every year. However, during Friday’s session, chaos initiated by the treasury members belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and demands by the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) to speak first, Leader of the Opposition and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif was left unable to make the speech.

The PML-N president has convened a meeting of party legislators today to devise a strategy for the budget session in order to deal with possible interruptions by the treasury members during the debate.

On Sunday, leaders of two major opposition parties — Maryam Nawaz of PML-N and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) – initiated their first attempt at the anti-government campaign, blocking the passage of the federal budget, which Bilawal termed as “economic suicide.”

The decision to block the passage was agreed upon during the meeting of off-springs the Sharif and Bhutto-Zardari families, along with their aides, met for the second time at Jati Umra after the iftar dinner hosted by Bilawal at the Zardari House last month.

Bilawal, while speaking to the media after Jati Umra meeting, said it was decided at the meeting to bring all parties on board for what he said checking the storm of inflation. He said the opposition won’t let the “anti-masses” budget to be passed and would work to make the “puppet” government accountable to the people.

Meanwhile, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan termed the ‘Fathers’ Day meeting’ between the two young leader a bid to conceal “corruption” of their fathers.

“Today, both [Bilawal and Maryam] exchanged tips on how to protect the ‘illegitimate’ assets of their fathers,” Awan said in a press conference.

The government presented the budget to provide ease to the people and make the country stand on its own feet, but the opposition was creating hurdles in the way of its smooth passage, Awan said.

“We will manage to pass the budget in parliament with the support of our [ruling PTI’s] allies,” she added.

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