Pakistan: Govt gets walkover in key National Assembly session

Insight Online News

Islamabad, June 27 : For the second consecutive year the Imran Khan led government on Saturday got a walkover in the National Assembly regarding the passage of the budget when as many as 49 demands of its demands for grants worth over Rs 3 trillion were approved and 967 cut motions were rejected by a majority vote, despite the latter making tall claims of making every effort to block the passage of the budget in parliament.

The lack of will on the part of the opposition parties could be gauged from the fact that a majority of its members, including Opposition Leader Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Asif Ali Zardari, were absent from the house proceedings, thereby allowing the government smooth sailing during the crucial phase of the budget session, Dawn reported.

The opposition benches in the National Assembly looked deserted with most seats lying vacant. Despite their strength, the opposition did not challenge even a single ruling of the chair on the voice vote on the demands for grants.

Just weeks before the budget presentation, the opposition leaders, including Mr Sharif and Mr Bhutto-Zardari, had repeatedly said that they would not let the government pass the budget from the National Assembly and they would do whatever they could to achieve this goal.

This is the second consecutive year that the opposition had allowed the government such a walkover as during the last budget session, the two major opposition parties — PML-N and PPP — had reached an understanding with the government that the opposition members would submit the cut motions, but they would withdraw them without a vote count.

The behind-the-scenes agreement between the government and the two major opposition parties of Pakistan had been reached while discussing the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the budget session in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.


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