PML-N set to get PPP nod for budget

ISLAMABAD   -   The senior ruling partner, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), is set to get the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) nod for the budget amid differences within the coalition government players. The PPP expressed its discontent over not being consulted by the PML-N even before it was presented. Yesterday, PPP leader Aseefa Bhutto Zardari, criticised the federal budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, highlighting that it failed to provide necessary relief for farmers and ordinary citizens amidst soaring inflation and unemployment.

Aseefa, daughter of President Asif Zardari and sister of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, denounced the budget as “anti-people.” She questioned, “Do the people of Pakistan deserve this anti-people budget?” She emphasized the need to provide relief to the common man and to support farmers, stating, “We must move forward to provide relief for the common man and strengthen our farmers. The people of Pakistan deserve better, and we should work together to achieve improvement.” She pointed out the significant challenges faced by vulnerable segments of society.

Highlighting the need for a more inclusive budget, she added, “We required a budget that didn’t prioritize large corporations over the most vulnerable in our society. It should have offered relief and redirected subsidies to the poor, farmers, laborers, and the working class.” Previously, senior PPP leader Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, echoed these concerns, said the government had not communicated any details about the budget or taken the PPP into confidence. “We are unaware of the PML-N’s plans regarding privatisation policy, taxes, or developmental programs,” he said before the budget was presented.

Following the controversial general elections on February 8, which were plagued by allegations of massive rigging, the PML-N and PPP formed a coalition government after protracted negotiations resulting from a fractured poll verdict. Shah questioned the government’s transparency and decision-making process regarding the budget, suggesting that it might be influenced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sources said, the PML-N has largely placated the PPP and assured to address their grievances. The meetings of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif with President Asif Ali Zardari and PPP chief Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have proved fruitful although the PPP fell short of making any big announcement. The PM and the PML-N ministers are optimistic that the PPP will stand with the government on the budget and strengthen the coalition. “The PPP is an important part of the government and we will continue to support each other. There are no big differences,” said a senior PML-N leader.

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