ISLAMABAD - PPP lawmaker Farhatullah Babar on Sunday suggested to the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz to restore peace, accelerate growth and investment instead of resorting to coercive regulatory and taxation measures to resolve ongoing energy crisis.

Babar, while taking part in budget 2013-14 debate, put forward a three-point framework to release creative energies of the people for resolving energy shortfall. He said even if the circular debt was eliminated within 60 days, the problem would persist unless measures were taken against its resurrection. The basic malaise was the huge difference in the cost of power production and the price paid by consumers, he said while adding unless it was addressed, the problem of circular debt would persist. "The prime responsibility of the political elite is to take necessary steps and formulate a framework to generate more and more revenue," he remarked.

Babar said taking the bull of militancy by the horns, setting up a constitutional court, and addressing disconnect between civil and security establishments were needed to promote investment and development. He said that “time had come that we carry out a dispassionate study of the impact of judicial overreach on the implementation of economic policies, adding that the constitutional court envisaged in the CoD (charter of democracy) needed to be set up. Most of the CoD had been implemented in the last five years. The PPP would support the government in implementing the remaining few provisions, including the constitutional court, which, he said, had been deferred on the request of PML-N.

Babar said far-reaching reforms in Balochistan had been met with dumping of mutilated bodies and the rise in enforced disappearances. It showed that some elements did not like a political settlement. He deplored that while there was a need to strengthen national narrative against militancy, the ruling PML-N having a soft corner for militants had weakened the national narrative against militancy.

He called for addressing the issue of enforced disappearances, and deplored that just when the senate committee on human rights had proposed legislation and other measures to address the issue, the government abruptly disbanded the human rights ministry and made it part of the Law Ministry under a minister who was also general (retired) Musharraf's law minister. He demanded restoration of human rights ministry.

Babar also criticised the thoughtless manner in which the secret and discretionary funds of some ministries had been disbanded. He said in doing so the government had blundered into blowing the cover of the Institute of Regional Studies by making public that the institute and its research studies were funded from the secret funds of the Information Ministry.

About the defence budget, Babar said that payment of compensation to the owners whose land had been acquired for military purposes should also be paid out of the defence budget. He said several thousands acres of land belonging to private individuals was acquired in the 70s and 80s for military ranges in Nowshera. Despite court orders and intervention of Parliament no compensation had yet been paid to owners of the acquired land.

Babar said around 125 per cent raise in salaries of government employees was made during the last five year tenure of PPP despite financial constraints, adding, that the country's remittances witnessed a significant increase from $7billion to $14billion only because of the incentives given to overseas Pakistanis.  Senator Hidayatullah, during the course of senate proceedings, pointed out that only Rs18billion were earmarked for the Tribal Areas besides withdrawal of incentives already given to these areas in the federal budget of new government.

Abbas Khan Afridi, a senator from FATA, said the tribal belt needed more than Rs18billion, as rehabilitation of IDPs, construction of schools etc needed more funds.

 He also urged the government to allocate $1billion which Pakistan would get $1billion from the United States under the head of coalition support fund (CSF).

Senator Saeed Ghani said the budget was not pro-people as there was no mention of farmers and labourers who had made this country self-sufficient.

Senator Muhammad Hamza said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar's vision presented in the budget would improve the sagging economy of the country. He urged the government to carry forward privatisation with transparency and also take measures to stop power theft.

During the proceedings, Senator Rabbani said enhancement of one per cent GST would have rolling effect on everything and result in price-hike. He added prices of automobiles, education expenses, cost of marriage ceremonies, cold drinks and power tariff would go up compounding miseries of the common man. He also said only 10 per cent increase in salaries of government employees was insufficient as inflation rate was skyrocketing.

Meanwhile, the Senate extended complete support to the government of Balochistan for its efforts to maintain peace in the province and address grievances of the masses by adopting a unanimous resolution condemning the inhumane and cowardly acts of terrorism in Balochistan.

The resolution expressed condolences to all the victims of the attacks, prayed for the departed souls and early recovery of the injured. The House also condemned the kidnapping of five doctors in Loralai on Friday last.

Leader of the House, Raja Zafarul Haq, also condemned the incidents, saying the interior minister was in Quetta and he would share details with the Senate on his return. The House will now meet today (Monday) at 4 pm.