ISLAMABAD - Though opposition parties boycotted the budget debate for yet another day on Saturday, they have submitted 1,839 cut-motions related to six ministries in the National Assembly Secretariat, intending to give tough time to the government.

A cut motion is a power given to the members of the Parliament (mainly opposition lawmakers) to oppose a demand of grants in the financial bill discussed by the government. If a cut motion is adopted by Parliament and the government does not have the numbers, it is obliged to resign as per rules, according to the rules and procedures.

“The opposition members mainly from the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) have submitted 1,839 cut motions about six ministries seeking a debate and voting on it,” parliamentary sources told The Nation.

The National Assembly budget session with a two-day break will resume from tomorrow (Monday). The opposition parties have consistently been boycotting the budget debate since when the lower house has taken it up. The budget debate will be wrapped up by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday. 

The breakup of the cut-motions includes 479 related to Cabinet Division, 341 related to the Ministry of Interior, 338 about Ministry of Water and Power, 282 related to Finance Ministry, 209 National Food Security and Research and 190 related to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“If the opposition continues its boycott, then all these cut-motions will stand invalid automatically, another voting will be conducted on it,” said parliamentary experts aware of the rules and procedures.

Some of the opposition parties are still indecisive about fully participating in the proceedings during a discussion on cut-motions, said sources in opposition parties. “Most of them are asking to participate and give tough time to the government by forcing the chair to go for voting on cut-motions,” they said.

There is a strong opinion in opposition ranks to make all-out efforts to take advantage of government’s weakness in the National Assembly, especially on the quorum issue.

The PML-N government despite having the two-thirds majority could not properly use the strength as a weapon to deal with every move of the opposition in the Parliament.

The ruling party with its 189 MNAs has faced the embarrassment for 30 times in the fourth parliamentary year of the National Assembly due to lack of quorum which, many times, led to the suspension of the proceedings.

According to figures, the government faced 80 attempts from the opposition side about the quorum issue during different sessions. The government could maintain nearly 31 percent of the required strength during these sessions. There are some examples when the government failed to complete quorum during a debate on important events.

The government, in the current 14th National Assembly, due to incomplete quorum, failed to pay tribute to martyrs of ‘Defence Day’ as the House was suspended due to the lack of quorum. 

On another occasion, the government thrice failed to get “The Pakistan Commissions of Inquiry Bill, 2016” passed due to the lack of quorum in the House. 

The opposition has reportedly pointed out quorum for 80 times. The PTI pointed out quorum for 43 times, the PPP 18 times, independent MNAs nine times, JI three times, JUI-F two times, MQM two times and PML-N one time.