Opposition defeated by 160-119 votes during clause-wise voting for upcoming fiscal’s budget
The National Assembly on Monday passed the Finance Bill 2020-21 with a voice vote. The opposition did not insist on a vote for the final passage of the budget bill after being defeated during clause-by-clause voting with 160-119 votes against it.
“Tall claims made by the opposition and some sensationalist analysis by the media over the last few days and the result is that the 29-vote majority—through which last year’s budget was passed—has increased to 41 votes,” Planning Minister Asad Umar posted on Twitter after the budget bill had passed.
A day earlier, opposition parties had rejected the budget bill, claiming it was “anti-poor” and did not provide relief to citizens during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Issuing a joint statement, PMLN’s Khawaja Asif, Jamaat-e-Islami’s Mian Aslam, and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said the “united opposition” had rejected the budget.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has become a national liability. As long as he is the premier, we are headed towards disaster. The sooner we get rid of him, the more chances we have of salvaging the situation,” PMLN’s Asif said, adding that they would formulate a joint strategy in this regard.
The prime minister—in a rare personal appearance in Parliament—participated in the budget passing session during Speaker Asad Qaiser’s review of each clause and amendment to the Finance Bill.
Earlier, during debates, Industries Minister Hammad Azhar accused the opposition of resorting to personal attacks instead of offering concrete arguments against clauses of the bill. He was reacting to speeches by both Bhutto-Zardari and Asif in which the two had demanded the prime minister step down.
The incumbent Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government presented a Rs. 7.14 trillion budget for fiscal 2020-21 on June 12. It claims the budget has no new taxes in light of the coronavirus pandemic and has set an “aspirational” revenue target to fulfill the requirements of a loan arrangement with the International Monetary Fund.