ISLAMABAD: Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazal (JUI-F) Senator Atta Ur Rehman has said that the new federal budget is prepared for the establishment at “gunpoint”, contending that Pakistan belongs “only to the establishment and not to the people.”

“Debate on the budget is on — but we are wondering whether this budget is prepared for the people of Pakistan or establishment,” he said in the Senate, as the upper house of the parliament continued debate on the federal budget on Friday.

“We are always told that defence budget is for national security and all that—this budget should be prepared on the basis of performance of government institutions, but I think, the budget is not prepared on the performance basis –but on gunpoint— for the establishment,” he said.

In the same vein, the senator continued, “If we see their performance —— forceful occupation in their own country in the name of (fighting) terrorism —the United States has adopted the same policy at the international level — the US comes to this region in the name of bringing peace, and harass and humiliate anyone they want to,” he said.

“Our establishment or army is doing the same in the name of bringing peace —there are barricades everywhere — to harass and humiliate people — especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — it looks like Pakistan is the country that belongs only to the establishment and not to the people— we are taking this nation to the point where people will stand up and grab us by our collars.”

Taking part in budget debate, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senator Zarqa Suharwardy Taimur slammed the federal government for imposing excessive taxes on the common man, saying, the opposition would grab the government by the collar and hold it accountable for preparing anti-poor budget.

“You have imposed taxes on the government employees from grade 1 to 16 — but you did not impose any tax on any parliamentarian or cabinet member. What kind of house is this? — the ministers don’t bother to be here—poor are being taxed and rich are enjoying the privileges,” she deplored.

Majlis Wahdat-e-Muslimeen (MWM) chief Allama Raja Nasir Abbas also criticised the federal government for imposing taxes on the salaried class. “The taxes imposed on the salaried class in this budget are deadly. There are direct and indirect taxes. How will the people survive in such an economically difficult situation?” he said, adding that the country’s industrial sector is destroyed and over three million labourers have been rendered unemployed.

Saadia Abbasi from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), Sarmad Ali from Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), PTI’s Fawzia Arshad and others took part in budget debate.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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