ISLAMABAD - The opposition in the National Assembly urged the government to raise salaries of government employees and pensions from the proposed 10 percent to 20 percent.

The opposition members even termed the budget unconstitutional as National Finance Commission (NFC) Award had not been announced for last two years.

Taking part in the budget debate, PPP’s Shazia Marri said the government should have announced National Finance Commission (NFC) award before presenting the budget. “National census should be conducted in the country for proper surveys and making appropriate budgetary proposals,” said Marri said, adding the government should have consulted members before making budgetary proposals.

She criticised the government for 20 hours loadshedding in different parts of the country. “This government is following footsteps of the Musharraf era,” said the PPP lawmaker.

Marri further asked the government to appoint foreign minister of the country.

A treasury benches lawmaker Khusro Bakhtiar said Pakistan had a clear foreign policy. He added there was a need to speed up progress of economy of the country to achieve goals as ace of economic growth was very slow. “A strong economy can further boost democracy,” he said, adding there should be a national ownership of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He stressed the need to impose agriculture tax.

Taking part in the debate, MQM’s Ali Raza Abidi said there was a need to conduct national census in the country. “Without having the idea of population, the government cannot make budgetary proposals,” said Abidi, adding there was a need of agriculture reforms in the country. He urged the government to take proper steps for health issues. “The National Action Plan (NAP) must be made effective to control terrorism,” Abidi added.

Ramaish Lal, taking part in the debate, said the government should increase salaries of government employees up to 20 percent.

He said there was no reasonable allocation in the federal budget for the welfare of minorities. He said five percent job quota for minorities was not being implemented.

MNA Aliya Kamran, on her turn, said the government should have announced National Finance Commission (NFC) award before presenting the budget 2016-17.

QWP chief Aftab Sherpao, on a point of order, asked the speaker to give ruling about airing and publishing of expunged words from the proceedings of the National Assembly. He questioned why expunged words were being published and aired, he added.

Speaker Ayaz Sadiq said the media should not publish or air the words expunged from proceedings.

Three bills were introduced before the house today. These were Illegal Dispossession (Amendment) Bill, 2016, The Marine Insurance Bill, 2016, and The Pakistan National Accreditation Council Bill, 2016".

These bills were moved by Minister of State for Interior Muhammad Balighur Rehman and Minister for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan.

The chair referred these bills to the standing committees concerned.