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July 1, 2020

NA passes supplementary budget amid walkout, protest

Top Story

July 1, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly (NA) on Tuesday okayed the supplementary budget of Rs544 billion for the fiscal year 2019-20 while approving 263 supplementary grants of ministries divisions and departments on a noisy day which witnessed sloganeering and walkout from the opposition members. The opposition members walked out of the House before approval of the supplementary grants.

Earlier, the proceeding also witnessed verbal clash between the Minister for Maritime Affairs Ali Zaidi and PPP parliamentarian Syed Naveed after the former waived copies of JIT reports of Uzair Baloch and Nisar Morai and gave challenge for fight to PPP leaders. Ali Zaidi while waiving copies of JIT report said Asif Zardari and Faryal Talpur were chief patrons of Uzair Baloch and Nisar Morai.

Naveed Qamar while removing his coat, moved towards the minister, saying that he was ready for fight. “I am ready to fight if you want so.” Naveed Qamar said.

Ali Zaidi said it was the PPP which introduced terrorism in Pakistan as Al-Zulfiqar hijacked PIA plane in 1981. As Ali Zaidi started unleashing attacks on the PPP leadership, the opposition members surrounded dais of the Speaker. The PTI parliamentarians also reached there in defence of the chair.

He also questioned as to who killed Khalid Shahnshah and who murdered Benazir Bhutto. “As to how the PPP of Bhutto becomes party of terrorism and loot and plunder,” he said. He said that JIT reports say that Uzair Baloch had links with PPP while Nisar Morai also admitted three murders saying that Saeed Ghani’s son is also drug supplier. “Those who issued murder orders to Uzair Baloch, are now taking part in budget debate in the House,” he said admitted Baloch also admitted killing 58 people.

Responding to the points of opposition members regarding the supplementary budget, Minister for Industries and Production said the supplementary budget in the last year of the PML-N government was Rs600 billion.

He said the PTI government reduced it to Rs450 billion in the first fiscal year saying that there is no regular supplementary grant during the outgoing fiscal year except the expenditures incurred to deal with the situation arising out of coronavirus and the petroleum.

The minister also clarified that the petroleum development levy (PDL) and the GST on petroleum products have not been enhanced. The prices of petroleum products were raised due to an upward trend in the international market.

He said that grants for the Prime Minister Office were diverted to the National Disaster Management Authority.

Minister for Power Omar Ayub said the government is pursuing the course of increasing the share of renewables in power generation to produce cheap electricity. He regretted that the previous government installed power projects run on expensive imported fuel for their vested interests. He said the PML-N also left behind a massive circular debt.

On petroleum prices, the minister said the government also reduced the prices of petroleum products when these went down in the international market.

Earlier, the PPP parliamentarian Abdul Qadir Patel said the government wanted the opposition to join sin of approving supplementary grants.” You made tall claims of saving money but you are trying to get approved supplementary grants,” he said.

Shahzia Marri of PPP observed that the government says that Constitution provides for supplementary grants. “Do you also follow other clauses of the Constitution,” she questioned. She observed that the government failed to achieve budget targets while supplementary grants for the Prime Minister Office have also been requested.

The PML-N member Murtaza Javed while reacting to supplementary grants being asked by the government, questioned as to what happened with austerity drive of the regime.