ISLAMABAD: Leader of the House in Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem Monday said the federal government has presented peoples-friendly budget, dismissing the opposition's criticism to the new budget.

"The two major opposition parties; PML-N and PPP that oppose this budget, are the ones that brought this country on the verge of economic collapse due to their disastrous policies," he said speaking on the floor of the House at the Senate sitting presided over by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani.

He said opposition parties remained in power during 1990s. "Their respective governments changed for four times. And, each time, after assuming power, they went to IMF. So, it sounds extremely ridiculous when they criticize us for going to the IMF," Waseem said.

"Pakistan was a fast-growing economy till 2008 before PPP came into power. The PIA (Pakistan International Airlines and PSM (Pakistan Steel Mills) were profitable entities. But PPP's (Pakistan Peoples Party's) and PML-N's (Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz's) five-year terms each in power brought this country at the verge of economic destruction. These two have been complete failures," he said.

Waseem said the present government's decision to go to International Monetary Fund (IMF) was a 'difficult one.' He said "But we had to do it to save the country from economic collapse. We are paying the price of the blunders of these two parties."

Waseem said Pakistan's economy strengthened even in the challenging times of COVID-19 due to "prudent policies of Prime Minister Imran Khan."

Leader of the Opposition in Senate Yousaf Raza Gillani strongly criticized the incumbent government for the new budget.

Common man has not been given any significant relief in the budget, he said.

Gillani said the country was economically strengthened and its exports as well as agriculture sector were booming when he was the PM.

"Despite floods and rains, our food basket was full. We recorded significant increase in the exports of sugar, right, wheat and cotton. The exports were all time high and touched $ 22 billion," Gillani claimed, adding that the country economically prospered when PPP was in power at the centre- from 2008 till 2013.

Mushtaq Ahmed from Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) drew the attention of the chairman Senate towards ongoing protest of Janikhel tribe in South Waziristan.

The chairman sought report on the matter from Chief Secretary Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dr Kazim Niaz and newly appointed Inspector General of Police (IGP) KP Moazzam Jah Ansari by today (Tuesday).

Other senators including Raza Rabbani and Kauda Babar shared their views at the Senate sitting.

The ongoing 312th Senate session (budget session) started Friday when federal budget 2021-22 was presented in National Assembly and its copy was laid in the Upper House of the Parliament.

Sanjrani directed the senators to submit their recommendations on the Finance Bill 2020-21 (if any) latest by June 14.

Constitutionally, Senate can hold extensive debate on the Finance Bill and devise recommendations accordingly but it has practically no role in budgetary legislation since it is completely up to the National Assembly to either completely or partially accept those recommendations or hand them an outright rejection.

Article 73 which deals with parliamentary business with respect to money bills reads, "(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Article 70, a Money Bill shall originate in the National Assembly: Provided that simultaneously when a Money Bill, including the Finance Bill containing the Annual Budget Statement, is presented in the National Assembly, a copy thereof shall be transmitted to the Senate which may, within fourteen days, make recommendations thereon to the National Assembly.

(1A) The National Assembly shall, consider the recommendations of the Senate and after the bill has been passed by the Assembly with or without incorporating the recommendations of the Senate, it shall be presented to the President for assent."

The House would meet again today at 4 pm.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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