Opposition rejects govt’s narrative of economic growth Vows to give ‘tough time’ over budget

Ijaz Kakakhel

Leaders of the opposition came together on Friday to reject the government’s stance of economic growth and development in budget session, saying they would join hands to give it a “tough time” over the federal budget for fiscal year 2021-22.

Speaking to the media in Islamabad alongside PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari after the National Assembly budget session, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said: “All opposition parties in parliament have decided we will give a tough time to the government and expose it, the false figures they’ve shown and the distortion [in numbers] they’ve done.”

He blasted the government’s narrative on the state of the economy, questioning how could the economy improve when “the poor [man] is dying, he can’t get bread for a one-time meal, there is a wave of poverty and unemployment in the country.”

Shahbaz said these issues would be jointly addressed in parliament and “we will give a tough time to the government in passing the budget.”

Bilawal similarly lashed out at the budget presentation and said it did not align with reality, claiming that even people listening to the speech would’ve thought it was the budget of another country.

He said the prime minister and finance minister’s stance, of economic development while the country was facing “historic poverty, unemployment and inflation”, held no weight and was akin to “rubbing salt into the wounds of the people of Pakistan who are suffering.”

The PPP chairman expressed his support for a united opposition front to challenge the budget, saying: “We think the differences of the opposition and other political parties have their own place [but] we have to challenge this budget and unqualified, unfit and selected government together.

“As I promised in front of you, we are unconditionally giving all the votes of the PPP MNAs against this budget to Leader of the Opposition (in the National Assembly) Shahbaz Sharif to use against this government.”

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