PML-N Faces Flak From Own Legislators Over ‘Tax-Heavy’ Budget

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The legislators slammed Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb for presenting a “tax-loaded and International Montery Fund (IMF)-dictated budget”.

The ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) faced an unprecedented backlash in the National Assembly with lawmakers from even the treasury benches joining their opposition counterparts in lashing out at the government over the federal budget, Dawn reported.

The legislators on Friday slammed Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb for presenting a “tax-loaded and International Montery Fund (IMF)-dictated budget”.

The second day of the budget debate yesterday was also marked by fierce criticism of the government by the members from both sides over the absence of the ministers, especially the finance minister, from proceedings.

The PPP, a key partner in the ruling coalition, continued its protest by only having a “token participation”, as its members attended the session but didn’t participate in the debate as a mark of protest over the alleged violation of an agreement reached with the PML-N at the time of the formation of the government after the February elections and for “not consulting” it on the preparation of the budget.

The boycott of the debate by the PPP came despite reports that the issues between the two parties had been settled after a meeting between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Thursday evening

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari

It is pertinent to note that five PML-N members also participated in the debate on Friday, but none of them supported the government’s economic policies and almost all of them complained that they were also “not consulted” by the finance minister and bureaucrats while preparing the budget.

Taking part in the debate, the opposition members belonging to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) took the government to task over the alleged “political victimization” of the party and demanded the immediate release of PTI’s founder and former premier Imran Khan, as well as other party activists who had been jailed in different cases.

Pakistan PM Shehbaz Sharif also attended the sitting for a few minutes, but most of the time the front treasury rows remained empty, drawing criticism from the lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

The lawmakers grilled the finance minister over indirect taxation and for putting more burden on the salaried class, besides imposing sales tax on each and every item, including stationery items, books, packed milk, and medical equipment.

Most of the leaders termed it an “IMF-dictated budget” which, they said, had been presented only to appease foreign masters and to get more loans, Dawn reported. (ANI)

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