ISLAMABAD - Despite standing poles apart on the budget document the treasury and opposition benches were on same page against the acts of terrorism in Balochistan and adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the killing of innocent women students in Quetta, attack on Ziarat Residency of Quaid-I-Azam and kidnapping of doctors from Loralai.

In the morning when the assembly session started to resume debate on finance bill 2013-14, Ms Asiya Nasir rose on a point of order and condemned the terrorist attacks in Balochistan and stressed the need of paying serious attention to Balochistan issue. The house offered fateha for Balochistan carnage martyrs, adopted a unanimous resolution condemning the terror attacks. The resolution, prepared in consultation with the opposition members, proposed taking stringent measures against the miscreants and demanded the provincial government beef up security, secure the lives and protect the national heritage.

On the budget, over a dozen MPs from treasury and opposition benches took part in the debate with treasury members terming it the best budget in the given circumstances while opposition lawmakers declared it devoid of any relief for the poor. They grilled the government for slapping indirect taxes on those already paying taxes and absence of concrete measures to broaden the tax base. The prime minister and most of his cabinet ministers did not turn up while the attendance from opposition parties was equally disappointing.

Initiating the debate‚ JUI-F’s Muhammad Sherani said that increase in GST would directly affect the masses. He proposed adopting a policy of self-reliance instead of depending on foreign loans. JUI-F’s Akram Khan Durrani lauded different steps taken by the government for the betterment of the masses. He said it is a good omen that government has abolished the secret funds but he demanded that the secret funds of Political Agents of the tribal areas must also be abolished and the same should be spent on the development of these war-devastated areas.

But Pakistan People's Party Ayaz Soomro termed the budget as anti-people and gimmickry of words. He also grilled the government for expunging the name of Benazir Bhutto from Benazir Bhutto Income Support Programme. He warned that any non-judicious water distribution among the provinces would lead to clashes between them.

Water and Power Minister Ahsan Iqbal rose after his speech and said that water distribution was made on the basis of 1991 Water Accord between the provinces, as materialised by the PML-N government with consensus. He added that the members should avoid giving statements detrimental to the federation's unity.

On that PPP members rose to their seats and started shouting against the statement of the minister. Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq allowed PPP senior leader Nawaz Yusuf Talpur to give point of view of his party. Talpur said that Sindh had accepted the 1991 Water Accord with reservations and added that they wanted implementation of that accord in totality, which was currently not being done.

Raja Aamer Zaman of PTI welcomed the government's initiatives like youth uplift schemes and said that the base and scope of these schemes should be broadened. He said 10 per cent increase in the salaries of the government employees is worth appreciation, but he proposed that the increase should be 15 to 20 percent. He demanded to abolish the tax imposed on the Haj tour operators, saying that this burden would ultimately have to be borne by the intending pilgrims.

Awami National Party’s sole MNA, Amir Haider Khan Hoti also appreciated the steps taken by the government and said the decision to end circular debt in 60 days was worth admiration but he said there is dire need to end the factors that lead to circular debts. PML-N Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari termed the budget balanced one and best in the given circumstances. He proposed a number of measures to further spruce up the tax recovery system and solve problems facing the country.

Defence Productions Minister Rana Tanveer Hussain said the government was committed to improve the economy and uplift the living standard of the people. He said in the budget proposals the government has taken some tough decisions to improve the overall staggering economy. He said the government has added an amount of Rs25 billion in the Income Support Programme. He said the system of the programme would be improved to serve the recipients in a better way.

Minister for Law and Justice Zahid Hamid, responding to a calling attention notice on behalf of the interior minister who was on Balochistan visit following the Saturday's acts of terrorism, informed the house that the backlog of passports would be cleared by next month and mentioned various steps taken by their government for quick issuance of passports. He said that all the intending Hajis were provided with the passports on priority basis and all those who were missed out of the list provided by religious affairs ministry would be duly accommodated.