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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples' Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has said that the "PTIMF" budget was a "tsunami" for the economy, agriculture and health sectors and it may unleash a wave of poverty and famine-like conditions in the country, if not resisted by the entire nation.

Addressing a meeting of PPP's parliamentarians from both Senate and National Assembly at the Zardari House on Saturday, Bilawal said, the "PPP has already rejected the anti-poor budget and would vehemently oppose it at all elected forums."

He said, "This budget should have given incentives to pensioners to stay home, but by not increasing their pensions, or being sensitive to the real needs of the poor, it claims to champion, it has tried to compel them to come out in a pandemic, when the world is encouraging Stay Home-Stay Safe policy for all, especially the elderly."

Bilawal said the policies of the "selected" PTI government were akin to taking revenge on the people for questioning its legitimacy, as its federal budget exercise exposed both its callousness and indifference to the urgent needs of the people at such a delicate time for both lives and livelihoods.

He said it was obvious that budget proposals had ignored the Covid-19 pandemic, locust attacks, and the well-being of healthcare professionals, the needs of the salaried class, pensioners, and the poverty-ridden people. Bilawal repeated that the "PTIMF" budget was actually for providing comfort to a small "comprador elite", which lacked any structural relief plan for the poor and vulnerable communities.

Senator Sherry Rehman, Syed Naveed Qamar, Nawab Yousuf Talpur, Chaudhry Manzoor, and others, also spoke on the budgetary proposals, and described increase in levies on petroleum instead of the GSP as a tool to deprive the provinces of their divisible pool share.

They said this was in fact an anti-agriculture budget, the source of livelihood for almost 70 percent of Pakistanis.

They also said the government had failed to harvest a unique opportunity to invest in human security, by changing priorities such as the rest of the world on clear additions on spending on the critically-depleted health sector.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020