Bilawal refuses to address NA budget session

ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has declined to speak on the budget in the National Assembly.

Federal Minister for Commerce and Parliamentary group leader of the PPP in the National Assembly Syed Naveed Qamar told The News here Monday in Parliament House that Bilawal Zardari wouldn’t speak on the budget in the NA. Significantly, Bilawal also did not participate in the high-level two-round negotiations with the PML-N about budget proposals and especially IMF’s allocations for Sindh which are said to be one of the thorny issues between the two coalition partners.

The first round was conducted and chaired by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, aimed at resolving the issue over budgetary allocations for the flood victims of Sindh and other fiscal issues, and concluded on Monday evening. The development is viewed as a ‘setback’ in the wake of the newly emerged differences between the PPP and the ruling PML-N. The PPP MNAs have been criticizing certain aspects of the national budget in their speeches in NA but they have no plan to bring about cut motions in the budgetary allocations. If such proposals are tabled by any of their members it would be tantamount to acting as the opposition’s role.

The general discussion on the budget was scheduled to wind up on Saturday last (June 17) but it was extended for two days in the hope of Bilawal’s speech. The Finance Bill and supplementary budget adoption have also been deferred for a day and now the budget would be passed on Saturday, June 24 instead of a day earlier.

The sources revealed that the amendment in the Pakistan Election Act, passed by the Senate last week to reduce disqualification from contesting elections to five years in any offence would be laid in the National Assembly this week. It is likely that this approved amendment bill would be submitted on Saturday when President Alavi would have gone to Saudi Arabia for Hajj. In all likelihood the acting president will accord his assent to converting it into law, the sources reminded.

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