Reshuffle shows budget being made by IMF: opposition

Published May 29, 2021
In this file photo, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani speaks in the upper house of parliament. — DawnNewsTV
In this file photo, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani speaks in the upper house of parliament. — DawnNewsTV

ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the Senate on Friday set a new precedence by calling into question the yet-to-be-presented federal budget for the next fiscal year.

Speaking about the budget, former Senate chairman and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart Mian Raza Rabbani expressed alarm over changes in the financial team at a time when the budget was just around the corner.

He said the budget is likely to be presented on June 11 and weeks before it, the finance minister had been replaced. Likewise, he added, the finance secretary had also been changed.

He said that means a totally new finance team is in place. “These steps clearly indicate that budget-making exercise has not been carried out in the finance ministry. The ministry has been given a ready-made budget by the IMF,” he remarked.

“This is an IMF budget and the government is just going to implement it,” Mr Rabbani alleged.

PTI senator defends changes in financial team; PML-N lawmaker says establishment had no role in 1998 nuclear tests

He termed the coming budget anti-people and said aspirations of the masses had not been kept in view while preparing it. “We are not ready to accept such a budget,” he declared.

Leader of the House in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem in his response said that the objection was unfounded. He said it was the prerogative of the prime minister to change his team. He said macroeconomic indicators clearly reflect the success of the government’s economic policies.

He said the budget is yet to be announced and it was unfair to dub it anti-people at this stage on the basis of assumptions. “This mindset shows you cannot go beyond point scoring,” he remarked.

The leader of the house said it was not for the first time that the government had gone to the IMF. The present government has a target of transforming the economy to a level where the IMF support is not required at all.

He advised the opposition to desist from creating issues out of non-issues. He assured the house that the positive suggestions for the budget will be incorporated.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker Mushahid Hussain Sayed, while speaking on a point of public importance, said the military establishment had no role to play in the decision to carry out nuclear test 23 years ago.

He said that while then army chief General Jehangir Karamat asked the civilian government to decide the matter, the then Naval chief suggested against conducting nuclear test. He said the then air chief said Pakistan must go for nuclear test.

He said then US president Bill Clinton called then prime minister Nawaz Sharif to exercise restraint and offered five billion US dollars if no nuclear test is carried out, but Mr Sharif did not succumb to any pressure.

He said the nuclear programme was in fact the vision of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Water distribution

The controversy over alleged unfair water distribution of water among the provinces echoed in the house for the second consecutive day.

PPP Senator from Sindh Moula Bux Chandio objected to the speech of PTI legislator Ejaz Chaudhry, who tried to justify opening of TP-link canal, saying that it was right of Punjab under the 1991 water accord to divert water out of its share anywhere.

Senator Ejaz also said the losses being shown by Sindh were incorrect. He proposed formation of a committee consisting of representatives from Punjab, Sindh and even from two other provinces and a member of the Senate to look into the allegations levelled by Sindh against Punjab and how much water was coming to Punjab and then going out of it.

He blamed the previous governments, both democratic and dictatorial rules, for not building water reservoirs as per the accord for the last 30 years, which caused issues among the provinces after every two to three years. He pointed out that there was 67 per cent lesser water in Tarbela Dam and 83pc in Mangla Dam.

Reacting to it, Senator Chandio called for revising the water accord, saying that the accord was unacceptable.

Refusing to accept hegemony of the largest province, he stressed that Pakistan was a federation. “Federation is not the name of one province,” he remarked.

“The matter related to water is not that simple; it is very sensitive and a matter of life and death. Experts should be asked, how important it is to let a certain quantity of water falling into the sea,” he said

Mian Raza Rabbani, in response to the suggestion for setting up a committee, said the appropriate forum would be the Senate committee of the whole, where chief ministers, provincial governments’ representatives, water experts and other stakeholders would be able to participate to work out a new water accord.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2021

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

By-election trends
Updated 23 Apr, 2024

By-election trends

Unless the culture of violence and rigging is rooted out, the credibility of the electoral process in Pakistan will continue to remain under a cloud.
Privatising PIA
23 Apr, 2024

Privatising PIA

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb’s reaffirmation that the process of disinvestment of the loss-making national...
Suffering in captivity
23 Apr, 2024

Suffering in captivity

YET another animal — a lioness — is critically ill at the Karachi Zoo. The feline, emaciated and barely able to...
Not without reform
Updated 22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

The problem with us is that our ruling elite is still trying to find a way around the tough reforms that will hit their privileges.
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...