The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) criticised on Sunday the federal budget for 2015-16 and announced that it would oppose the budgetary proposals in parliament. Speaking at a press conference at his party’s Khurshid Begum Secretariat,
Senior MQM leader Dr Farooq Sattar termed it a traditional budget which would further burden the common man. “This budget is for the privileged class and it would provide no relief to the masses,” said Dr Sattar.
He said the MQM had presented a ‘shadow budget’ to the PML-N government on May 28 but the government did not incorporate its proposals into the official document. Commenting on substantial increase in the tax collection target for next fiscal year, he wondered how the government would meet the target when it had failed to achieve this year’s target. He said he wanted to ask the finance minister whether the next year’s budget would enhance the purchasing power of the salaried class and whether the prices of basic necessities, including commodities, would reduce.
“If this will not happen then this budget is for the feudals and capitalists and not for the poor,” Dr Sattar said. The PML-N government would have reduced the prices of gas, electricity and petroleum products had it wanted the budget to be described as a “pro-poor document”, he said. The prices of petrol, power and gas in many countries of the region were less than in Pakistan. The MQM leader called for elimination of petroleum levy and abolition of sales tax on gas, electricity and petrol to provide relief to the masses.
He said that feudals and landlords earning billions of rupees should be taxed. “Every taxable income should be taxed.” Criticising the amounts allocated for easing the water and power crises and for improving delivery in the health and education sectors, Dr Sattar said that instead of focussing on these vital sectors the government had earmarked a whopping Rs184 billion for construction of roads. “It seems the government does not care about the life, education and health of a common man as it is giving much more importance to the road infrastructure network,” he added. About Karachi, he said the government did not allocate Rs1bn for the city’s K-IV water supply project even though it had promised to do so.
The people of Karachi needed water more but the government was introducing ‘green line bus service’ in the city first. Had the government been sincere in announcing a major project for Karachi it would have allocated $2bn for revival of the Karachi Circular Railway, he added. Senator Nasreen Jalil said the government did not allocate even one per cent of the national budget for the country’s economic hub. Senator Khushbakht Shujaat, MNAs Rashid Godial, Rehan Hashmi and Salman Mujahid Baloch were present on the occasion.