JAVAID-UR-RAHMAN & Inam Khattak
ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday informed the National Assembly that the international community is showing confidence on the incumbent government, which could be reflected by the approval of financial package amounting to $588 million for Dasu Dam by World Bank.
Giving a policy statement in the budget session of the National Assembly, the Finance Minister said that international community, which was reluctant to assist Pakistan in major projects in past, is now approving financial packages for the country.
“Prime Minister has decided to work on both Dasu and Bhasha dams. Land acquiring process in Gilgat Biltaistan has also started,” Dar said, and took a credit that even NOC is now not required for this project.
Dar, in the presence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, informed that 4500 megawatts run of the river Dasu project will cost Rs700 billion. He said the first phase of the project will cost Rs400 billion.
Amid desk thumping only from treasury benches, the finance minister further informed that Rs55 billion have been allocated for Diamir Bhasha Dam on he special instruction of Prime Minister.
This dam will generate cheap electricity on its completion. Dar further clarified that the incumbent government was not performing only Punjab- centric and Dasu in geographic location not in Punjab.
Earlier, the house witnessed verbal brawl between treasury and opposition about the issue of changing the loyalties with political factions. The budget specific session turned discussing political matters when Omar Ayub from treasury benches took the floor for speech on budgetary proposals.
Omar Ayub faced strong criticism from both major political parties PPP and PTI, as even the house once echoed with echoed with ‘lota, lota’. In his response, the PML-N lawmaker said PTI chief Imran Khan was also once supported former dictator Musharraf during referendum.
Taking the floor, PPP’ lawmaker Aijaz Jhakrani also criticized Omar Ayub for changing political loyalty. “There should be loyalty in politics,” he said.
AML chief Sheikh Rashid, on his turn, calculated the proposals of federal budget in comparison with the previous government (PPP). “Albeit we strongly criticized PPP government on their budget but they succeeded to provide some relief to masses,” he said adding that this government has not only increased inflation rather is not providing employment opportunities.
Participating in budget debate, PPP lawmaker Aijaz Jhakrani said the budgetary proposals have much conflict with ground realities. About Kalabagh dam, he said PPP would not allow making Kalabagh dam at any cost.
MQM’s Tahira Asif, on her turn, said that there was imbalance in export and import in the country, which ultimately become reason of trade deficit. Whereas, a treasury benches lawmaker Malik Pervaiz arguing in favor of budgetary figures, said that this government is about to receive fourth tranche of IMF loan.
This government with its efforts has reduced load shedding in the country. Other lawmakers including Shahida Rehmani, Nasir Khan Khattak, Nighat Perveen, Abdul Rahim Mandokhel and Sher Akbar also participated in budgetary debate with some proposals.