NA passes budget amid ruckus
* Opposition fails to present any cut motion
By Tanveer Ahmed
ISLAMABAD: Amidst the rowdy scenes triggered by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the National Assembly passed the federal budget for financial year 2012-13 by adopting amended finance bill 2012 in just 10 days of its presentation.
The PML-N up in arms against the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government again created hullabaloo in the House and tried to intercept the proceedings by pointing out the quorum, however, government seemed well-prepared to foil the attempt of the opposition and succeeded in getting the budget passed in just 10 days on Thursday contrary to scheduled date of approval, which was June 24.
The opposition side also made the work of the government easy when it didn’t present cut motions, the prerogative of the opposition under parliamentary traditions and even persuaded the JUI-F to withdraw its cut motions. The opposition party looked in an aggressive mood, however, both sides refrained from engaging in physical brawl that happened at the time of the presentation.
The PPP also lined up some of its members in front of Federal Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh as protective wall to stop the opposition members from approaching Shaikh.
However, the PML-N side kept taunting Sheikh when he presented the budget by dubbing him “crony of Musharraf and agent of IMF” and even tore apart the copies of the agenda of the House and threw it at the finance minister.
The floor of the hall in front of the speaker’s dice was littered with the torn copies of the agenda as the PML-N kept on throwing it at the finance minister.
The PML-N members lodged their protest in intervals as at the beginning of the session they tried to disrupt the proceedings by pointing out the quorum, which was completed. Later, the PML-N members stormed into the House and gathered before the dice of the speaker when the House took up the demands for grants and supplementary budget.
It, later, went out of the House after remaining and protesting for almost one hour. They again attempted to disrupt the proceedings by pointing out the quorum, which again failed when the treasury side was present in sizeable number in the House. Under the amended finance bill, the National Assembly speaker and Senate chairman have been entitled to enjoy suitable security on the government expense for the whole life. Earlier, the National Assembly approved all the 134 supplementary demands for grants and appropriation of over Rs 2 billion for the year 2011-12. It also approved 151 demands for grants of 40 ministries.
Following the approval of the budget and passage of the resolution, endorsing the ruling of the NA speaker on prime minister’s disqualification, the House was prorogued for indefinite period.