KARACHI/BADIN/LARKANA: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has said that the budget 2024-25 has been designed to target and bully the middle class and facilitate feudal lords. “It is a complete recipe to destroy the economy at the behest of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” he remarked.

The JI leader expressed these views while addressing a press conference at his party’s Karachi headquarters, Idara Noor-i-Haq, on Sunday.

He quoted Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif as claiming that “inflation has decreased from 38pc to 12pc” and argued, where on earth inflation has decreased?

The budget has placed the lower and middle classes under an unbearable burden, he said. On the one hand, the prime minister claims inflation has decreased and, on the other, 18pc tax has been increased on flour, pulses, sugar, spices and other food items.

Says lower and middle income groups have been placed under ‘unbearable burden’

This is a typical example of deception, he said, adding that Shehbaz Sharif delivered the same speech he had delivered at the time of ‘regime change’.

He said that the government has already blasted the low-income group and the budget 2024-25 particularly targeted the middle class to pound it. The government announced a pay rise for the public sector employees but did not announce any such relief for private sector employees.

“The tax regime presented in the budget reflects the feudal mindset in the government’s top brass. The government increased slabs to further squeeze the already crushed salaried class. In the previous year, Rs360bn taxes were levied on the salaried class as compared to just Rs4 billion on feudal lords,” he added.

Still the government has not introduced any burden-sharing formula for the feudal lords, who own thousands of acres of agricultural lands.

The JI leader said that the tax regime in Pakistan was a total failure. A large number of professionals, among the 1.2 million Pakistanis, had left the country last year just because of the social and economic injustices in the country.

Instead of focusing on the tax net, the government is committed to increasing the tax base that, too, only by further pressing the salaried class.

Hafiz Naeem also lambasted the flawed policy for the agriculture sector and highlighted that the ‘sugar mills mafia’ had not paid the outstanding amounts to sugar cane growers for the last six months.

“The prime minister must tell the nation as to where is the report on import of wheat worth $1 billion,” he said, and also questioned the power generation cost that is double in the country as compared to the region.

The JI chief also posed to him questions about the gas prices development, if any, regarding gas exploration including the Pak-Iran gas pipeline.

JI’s Deputy Emir Osama Razi, Karachi Emir Munem Zafar and other leaders, including Saifuddin Advocate, Naveed Baig, Taufiquddin Siddiqui and Zahid Askari were present at the press conference.

The Awami Jamhoori Party (AJP) has rejected the budget 2024-2025 by declaring it “hostile to the poor and a friendly to the rich”.

The budget had doubled the pain and sufferings of the people of Sindh and they completely rejected it because no relief had been given to farmers, workers and labourers, said AJP central president Khadim Talpur and his party leaders Syed Laal Shah, Dr Aslam and others while talking to media on Sunday. Instead, it had sown unrest among the masses, they added.

They alleged that it was a joke with the people of Pakistan as the figures presented in the budget were not real because it had shown 6.25pc growth in the agriculture sector under the head of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The AJP leaders said that terrorism, bad economic policies, unemployment, inflation, stagnation of agricultural and industrial development, corruption, extremism and the destruction of education and healthcare systems were major problems.

JUI-F describes Sindh budget as ‘anti-people’

The Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has rejected the Sindh budget 2024-25 terming it ‘anti-people’.

In a statement issued in Larkana on Sunday, JUI-F Sindh general secretary Maulana Rashid Mehmood Soomro and Larkana district chief Maulana Nasir Mehmood Soomro remarked that the budget reflects “a nexus between thieves and watchmen”.

Instead of preparing it in the finance department, it was okayed at some ‘house’ where education, health and basic amenities sectors were heavily taxed, they observed.

They noted that a big population of Karachi was denied of any new development project while the young generation was ignored by the ruling party, which portrayed itself as the champions of taking care of youth. Women were totally ignored in the budget, they pointed out.

They said no allocations were earmarked for establishing new educational institutions in the light of population growth, adding that lion’s share of the development budget was diverted to the “bungalows of influential figures”.

They termed the Rs8bn allocation for haris as ‘mole in camel’s mouth’, saying that if calculated, it stood merely Rs650 per hari.

MQM-P rejects Sindh budget as ‘anti-urban’

Central committee of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) has rejected the provincial budget, calling it anti-urban. It also criticised the lack of development schemes for those living in urban Sindh.

The reaction came at an MQM-P central committee meeting held at the party headquarters in Bahadurabad.

After reviewing the federal and Sindh budgets in the meeting, the party rejected the Sindh budget, calling it anti-urban Sindh.

The party observed that Karachi contributed 97pc of the revenue to the Sindh kitty, but the government had ignored its people by not announcing any major development and infrastructure schemes.

The MQM-P also urged the prime minister to issue directives to reduce the income tax burden on the salaried class and stop their economic exploitation.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2024

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

Opinion

Editorial

Population calamity
Updated 22 Jul, 2024

Population calamity

Pakistan can also control its growth rate by following the examples of its peers and implementing functional family planning programmes and campaigns.
Blow to occupation
22 Jul, 2024

Blow to occupation

THE International Court of Justice has delivered a legal blow to the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
Seeking Priya Kumari
22 Jul, 2024

Seeking Priya Kumari

PRIYA Kumari — the minor girl who vanished on Ashura in 2021 while serving water at a sabeel in Sukkur district ...
Olympics contingent
21 Jul, 2024

Olympics contingent

FROM 10 in Tokyo the last time, it is now down to seven in Paris, and split across just three disciplines. When...
Grave concerns
21 Jul, 2024

Grave concerns

PUNJAB Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s open assault on the Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the PTI in the...
Civil unrest
Updated 21 Jul, 2024

Civil unrest

The government must start putting out fires instead of fanning more flames.