National Assembly approves Finance Bill 2020-21
The National Assembly approved the Finance Bill 2020-21 with a majority vote despite the protest staged by the opposition members on Monday.
This development came as all the cut motions tabled by the opposition were rejected by the House after which the session was adjourned till 11am on Tuesday.
It must be a moment of great relief for the PTI government which has been under severe pressure after Akhtar Mengal-led BNP-M decided to leave the ruling coalition over the failure to implement the six-point agreement.
There were rumours that the government won’t able to get the budget passed by the House as even the ruling party lawmakers criticised the decisions like increase in the POL products prices during the session.
The situation can be gauged by the fact that Moonis Elahi – a leader of PML-Q which is part of the ruling coalition – on Monday discussed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s statement that his government will complete the five-year term.
In a tweet, he questioned whether it was more important just to complete the term or to fulfill the promises made with the people. However, the tweet was later deleted, showing how the realpolitik work in Pakistan.
That’s why the reason Prime Minister Imran Khan had to host a dinner for the ruling alliance members on Sunday where he said, “I’m the only option available right now”.
The prime minister said the opposition had been talking about the government removal every day, but the government was not going anywhere.
Interestingly, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser arrived at the dinner along with the disgruntled PTI members shortly before the event was going to conclude. Later, Imran had a meeting with these lawmakers after the dinner.
During the session on Monday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Imran had only two options – either tender apology to the people for his poor decisions on the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues or resign and go home.
Addressing the National Assembly, he said, “We will challenge the decision of raising the petroleum products at every forum,” and questioned how a minister could issue a notification which was a responsibility of Ogra.
On the other hand, a resolution signed by the opposition and some ruling party members was submitted with the National Assembly Secretariat, demanding immediately withdrawal of the recent increase in POL products prices.