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NA passes 92 demands for grants for FY 2019-20

Bilawal again calls for issuing production orders of Dawar, Ali Wazir

ISLAMABAD   -  The PTI government in Wednesday’s National Assembly sitting approved 92 demands for grants relating to different federal ministries, division and departments for the next financial year, disapproving all the cut-motions moved by opposition with ‘voice of vote’.

The house, in a daylong session, saw maximum participation of treasury lawmakers ensuring to reject all the cut motions moved by the opposition. Prime minister Imran Khan also attended the proceedings for around half an hour.

The MNAs from both sides kept on chanting slogans in the house with different intervals. The opposition and government MNAs, in a light verbal brawl, passed sarcastic remarks and taunts on each other.

At one stage, senior opposition member from PPP-P Khursheed Shah challenged government and asked the chair to conduct voting on demands for grants. The chair, on the request of opposition member, conducted voting on it and government with its 160 members managed to approve it.

The MNAs from government side raised slogans and thumped desk when BNP (Mengal) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal entered the house. The opposition was expecting his presence in its Multi Party Conference (MPC) but he did not participate in it.

The house also saw a funny seen when the opposition members, making mockery of the government, raised their hands for prayers. Opposition member Naseeba Channa, speaking on cut-motions, prayed that they wished to live in ‘Old Pakistan’. She was supported by all the opposition members as they also started praying with her by raising their hands.

Minister of State for parliamentary affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said that this government would fulfil its promise to form a committee on Balochistan issues. “Prime Minister has fulfilled its promise to constitute a committee,” he said. On it, BNP (Mengal) Chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal asked the government to make a proper timeframe for this committee.

On Wednesday, the PTI government managed to approve 92 demands for grants relating to different ministries, divisions and departments for the next fiscal year.

The demands  which were passed related to Climate Change, Commerce Division, Communications Division, Postal Services, Defence Division, Ministry of Federal Government Educational and Professional Training, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan, Housing and Works Division, Federal Lodges, Human Rights Division, Industries and Production Division, Information Technology and Telecommunication Division, Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, Maritime Affairs Division, National Assembly, National Health Services, Overseas and Human Resource Development Division, Planning and Reform Division, Privatization Division, Pakistan Railways, State and Frontier Regions Division, Ministry of Climate and Ministry of Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony and others.

The House also approved another 23 demands for grants for the next financial year relating to various departments, including Cabinet, Establishment, Aviation and Capital Administration divisions, Prime Minister Office, National Security Division, Federal Public Service Commission, Meteorology Department, and Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Division. The government side also rejected over 300 cut motions moved by opposition members against these demands.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan, winding up debate on cut motion, PTI Government now has allocated Rs660 million for the Prime Minister House which include both internal expenses on the House and expenses on the public office. He said, “ This allocation is less than Rs 670 million for the Prime Minister House in 2014-2015, the minimum budget for a year in five-year tenure of the PML-N Government,”.

The house also held discussion on the Charged Expenditure included in Demands for Grants and Appropriations for the next financial year. Charged expenditures totalling over Rs43.47 trillion relating to different departments and services including Civil Works, Pakistan Railways, National Assembly, the Senate and domestic and foreign debt servicing.

With the start of proceedings, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP-P) once again requested the chair to issue production orders of two members from North Waziristan Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir so that they could attend represent their constituencies.

“The production orders of both the members should be issued as in their absence it should be considered that the federal budget was passed through rigging,” said PPP-P Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for the third time raised the matter in the budget session.

Bilawal said that he had already written a letter to Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for issuing the production order of both the members. He said that it was being considered that prime minister was not allowing to issue the production orders. He said they have also written to Human Rights committee to issue production orders. “Members of the house, if under custody under the charges, have the right to attend the proceedings,” he said.

National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, responding to PPP-P’s chairman, said he was looking the legal points in it and after making decision will inform about it.

Speaking on the charged expenditures, the opposition lawmakers called for revisiting economic policies in shape of budgetary allocations proposed in the budget. Some of them argued in favour of privatising PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) to avoid loss and other stressed the need to improve the standard of Pakistan Railways. They proposed to introduce policies for running the country in self-reliance.

PML-N’s parliamentary leader Khwaja Muhammad Asif drew the attention on dollar value (above Rs161). “Devaluation of Rupee is matter of concern,” he said.

Khurram Dastagir from PML-N said the cut in the salaries of ministers will not help saving the massive amount. “The country will not run with these hoodwinking strategies,” he said.

PPP-P’s Hina Rabbani Khar pointed out money allocated for PM house. “The money allocated for prime minister house is higher than the budget of National Assembly Secretariat,” he said.

 

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