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Pak opposition terms January 13 'darkest day' after National Assembly passes 'mini-budget'

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Islamabad | January 15, 2022 1:20:54 AM IST
The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Friday lambasted Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) government for approving the supplementary bills or 'mini-budget', and said that January 13 was the "darkest day in the history of Pakistan."

Referring to the passing of the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 and the supplementary finance bills with a majority vote in National Assembly (NA), PML-N senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi -- who was holding a press conference in Islamabad along with other party leaders, said that "January 13 was the darkest day for the Parliament as the bills were approved without any discussion," reported Geo News.

"Bills from NA session were approved in haste and even government was unable to elaborate the situation," said Abbasi, the former prime minister adding that bills were being passed in the Senate without discussion is unprecedented.

Abbasi further said that the incumbent government is handing over the country's economic keys to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and nothing is more dangerous than this, adding that, "the burden of more than Rs 700 billion have been placed on the nation's shoulder," reported Geo News.

NA on Thursday passed the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 and supplementary finance bill -- termed by the Opposition as a "mini-budget" -- with a majority vote, giving effect to new tax measures in an ambitious bid to achieve a tax target of Rs 5.8 trillion as per the requirement of IMF.

The approval of the supplementary finance bill was necessary to ensure Pakistan's sixth review of the USD 6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFE) receive clearance from the IMF's Executive Board which is scheduled to meet later this month to decide the disbursement of the USD 1-billion tranche.

Abbasi went on to say that "no rules and constitutional guidelines were followed during the voting for the bills and it all happened in the prime minister's presence," he added.

He further lashed out at federal ministers, saying, "the ministers admitted that they were compelled to pass the bill under pressure from the IMF," reported Geo News.

"Why are you defending the supplementary bills when you are forced to pass them?" he asked. "We are not ready to hand over the country's economy to the IMF for the sake of a USD 6-billion loan," he added.

Abbasi further stated that such things happen when a "disgraced government comes to power and the prime minister resorts to telling lies."

PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal also spoke during the press conference and he also termed January 13 as the "darkest day of history", saying that he begged before the NA speaker that the bill regarding the SBP is against Pakistan but it was approved "in violation of all the rules and regulations," reported Geo News.

Criticising the passage of the bill, Iqbal said, "Six months ago, the finance minister had painted a rosy picture about the country's historic tax collection targets, but the government ended up economically suppressing the masses.

"This is injustice with the people of Pakistan," he said, reported Geo News. (ANI)

 
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