ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Tuesday witnessed trade of allegations between the opposition and treasury benches as the latter demanded review of the federal budget while the ruling clique accused the previous PPP government of not achieving the economic targets.

The house, at its two long sessions, saw back-to-back attacks on the government’s economic policies as implementation of statutory order, foreign loans, privatisation's plan, increase in circular debt and inflation were among the main points. The government lawmakers, in an attempt to defend the government, passed the buck on the previous government while sharing their proposal on the budget 2014-15.The proceedings of the house remained suspended for around an hour for lack of quorum pointed out by PTI’s Shireen Mazari.

Leader of Opposition Syed Khursheed Shah, in his over 2-hour-long speech, calculating the budgetary figures, asked the government to review the entire budget. The soft-spoken PPP’s lawmaker came down hard on the government on various points, including violation of rules by implementation the statutory order. He said the government was bound to keep the debt to GDP ratio up to 60 percent, but it was now touching 62.5 percent.

Shah, in his melodramatic speech, used a bit harsh tone on the subject of privatisation of public sector entities (PSEs), including OGDCL, PPL, HBL and others. “We will resist the government’s move to privatise PSEs,” he said and pointed out that bypassing the standing committees was a sheer violation of the Constitution.

Shah further rapped the government over Ecnec’s approval for Metro bus project, suggesting the government the money could be consumed for Bhasha and other dams. “The status of Rs 28 billion being given for Metro bus project is unclear. When was it approved in the previous budget?” he asked.

He said distribution of resources was irrational and unjust because only Rs 200 million had been set aside for Karachi Circular Railway against Rs 200 billion actually required for it. About the circular debt, he further said around Rs 400 billion were doled out in just one go without any audit, but it again swelled to Rs 300 billion.

Defending the PML-N government stance, MNA Danial Aziz criticised the previous government for running the government without a finance minister. The previous government had made hat trick of giving IMF’s programme.

About PPP’s criticism on privatisation, he said why the previous government’s cabinet had approved it. He further said inflation and line losses were on peak in the previous government era.

Taking the floor, PTI’s economic wizard, Asad Umar, strongly rejected the federal budget 2014-15, saying businessmen of India would benefit from it as they have to give comparatively less tax than locals. He said this government had increased inflation by 60 percent. He further came down hard on the government for borrowing foreign loans. He added bulletproof vehicles of Rs 220 million were purchased for the prime minister. He asked the government to reduce the rates of gas and electricity, increase wages of labourers and take steps to bring back money from Swiss banks.