ISLAMABAD: Just a day before the announcement of the federal budget 2024-25, Pakistan Peoples Party — a major partner in the ruling coalition — has blamed the PML-N government for not taking PPP’s input at all while preparing the annual budget and wondered if it still wanted the ally’s support.

The PPP expressed its reservations in its parliamentary comm­i­ttee meeting, which was presided over by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in the meeting room of the National Assembly, on Tuesday.

Member of the National Assem­bly and PPP information secret­a­­ry Shazia Marri, briefing journalists after the parliamentary body meeting, said the lawmakers apprised the leadership of problems in their constituencies and expressed reservations over development schemes.

“The attitude adopted by the federal government towards our lawmakers is causing problems to our members as they are accountable to the people,” she said while expressing PPP’s annoyance over the government’s behaviour.

Shazia Marri accuses Centre of ignoring their lawmakers’ concerns

“No input from our party was taken in preparing the budget. Even in the federal PSDP, our op­­inion was not taken. We had tried to prevent such situation and senior party members approached the government, but it did not yield any result.

“We did not expect that our voi­ce would not be heard,” she said.

Farmers

The information secretary said the government had not given any relief to the agricultural class. “We have to be accountable to our people. When farmer does not get relief in [shape of] fertiliser, does not get relief on [purchase of] trac­tor and no one listens to them over electricity [issues], then all these concerns are valid,” she added.

The PPP leader said the National Economic Council (NEC) was established after a long time and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presented his case in its meeting on Monday. Likewise, Balochistan also presented its case. “The reservations of PPP are for the people of the entire country. We are a political party, we have an ideology and a manifesto and we wanted to give our input in light of that,” she added.

“So does this government want the PPP to protest? Does the government want us to express our displeasure on the floor of the National Assembly? Now, this has to be seen by the government as it is in a responsible position. We did not expect this behaviour from Shehbaz Sharif. If this attitude doesn’t change, we will go to our people,” she said.

Asked if the party was parting its ways with the government, Ms Marri said: “Put this question to the government. We are having another meeting on Wednesday, before the budget, at 2.30pm so we are giving the government another chance. We also have to cater to needs of our constituencies, people and the implementation of our manifesto.”

She made it clear that the PPP was not going to be a part of the federal cabinet and that it would continue to extend support to the PML-N government without joining the cabinet for the sake of economic and political stability in the country.

But in view of party members’ concerns, she added, the PPP chair­man would have to take a decision.

She said the ball was in the federal government’s court as it was its responsibility to address concerns if it wanted to retain the support of the PPP.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2024

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