The federal budget FY2017-18 with a Rs4.75 trillion outlay was approved by the National Assembly on Tuesday in the absence of members of the opposition.

This is the first time that a finance bill has been passed in Pakistan without the inclusion of the opposition in the assembly. Since the opposition was not present during the proceedings, all cut motions against the bill were dropped.

The bill was passed after Leader of the Opposition Syed Khurshid Shah gave a statement on the floor and then proceeded to walk out of the assembly with the other members of the opposition.

Concluding the discussion session on the budget, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar noted that out of the 276 recommendations made by the Senate, 75 had been partially or wholly approved while 137 recommendations had been sent to the planning commission.

The finance minister exclaimed that some elements had suggested that the budget held no worth without a date set for the National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

"The government wishes the early completion of the NFC award... however, the award is being delayed by the provinces," he alleged.

Dar asserted that the impression of increased foreign loans was incorrect and that in the coming year the government would continue to battle terrorism.

"We have allotted Rs90 billion for fighting extremism," Dar stated.

The National Assembly approved Rs3.45tr for ministries and divisions during the session. This included the approval of Rs928.58bn for the defence ministry, Rs107.02bn for the interior ministry, Rs11.5bn for the aviation division, Rs14.8bn for the establishment division, Rs51.16bn for the cabinet division and Rs5.11bn for the defence production division.

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