ISLAMABAD - The National Assembly on Tuesday continued debate on federal budget 2013-14 with the opposition disapproving the budgetary proposals for increase in general sales tax (GST), insufficient raise in salaries of government servants, vague policy on Pak-Iran gas pipeline and other issues.

The treasury benches with bit low intensity, as compared to previous days, defending the budget termed it a ‘people-friendly budget’, which is prepared just in five to seven days but will help the country steer out of crises.

The legislators of opposition benches in their rhetoric-cum-suggestive speeches also kept pointing out vacant seats of treasury benches during the budget debate, saying that it shows non-serious attitude of the government.

Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and members from opposition benches were giving their proposals but ministers were not present to note any proposal. “Only one minister is sitting in first two rows, as there should be presence of ministers during budget debate,” said Shah, adding that there was need of proper presence of treasury ministers in the house to set a good tradition.

Taking the floor, PPP’s senior legislator Naveed Qamar said that the increased GST would result in price-hike in coming days so there was need of prudent economic policy for the country. “How this government will fulfil its claim about inflation as ground realities are different...good luck to them,” said PPP MNA, adding that PML-N government has claimed to end loadshedding just in three months. “This government has seen a little glimpse of public wrath in Faisalabad. We received punishment in elections but the PML-N might not get as much space as enjoyed by PPPP,” he added.

Naveed Qamar raised question why Prime Minister is not giving clear statement on the matter of Pak-Iran gas pipeline.

 Pakistan will have to pay billion of dollars in fine if the country does not fulfil obligation regarding Pak-Iran gas pipeline. “Will the US pay our fine .No, surely not,” he added.

About privatisation of national entities, former minister for water and power lightly in his speech criticised any expected move for privatisation of national entities.

He added that there was need of clear policy on Thar coal.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf MNA Ghulam Sarwar in his budget speech clearly termed it a conventional budget prepared by bureaucracy. About GST, the PTI lawmaker said when the irregularity of incumbent government was pointed out by opposition benches they justified their act by giving the reference of 1931.

Taking part in debate, another PTI MNA Shafqat Memhood was of the view that this government might print notes in coming days, which would increase inflation in the country. He pointed out that incumbent government in this budget has proposed much tax on low-salaried class (Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000) as compared to those who are getting comparatively salaries (Rs 1,500,000 to Rs, 2,500,000).

On his turn, Ghuous Bux Mehar from PML-F demanded that GST should be withdrawn as it would increase inflation in the country. He added that there was need to explore Thar coal.

Defending budgetary proposal, PML-N lawmaker Rao Ajmal said that PML-N has prepared federal budget just in a week. He appreciated the Nandipur project, three-marla housing scheme, and Ramzan package. He proposed that Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) should be renamed as ‘Madar-e-Millat Income Support Programme’.

The member of religio-political party (Jamaat-e-Islami) Sahibzada Tariq Ullah strongly opposed imposition of GST when budgetary proposals are still under discussion. He said that there was need to impose Islamic system in the country. He said that the salaries of government servants should be raised up to 20 per cent.

On his turn, MQM legislator Khawaja Sohail Mansoor said that it was anti-people budget, which would increase inflation and joblessness in the country.

PPPP legislator Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah said that PML-N has not followed its manifesto in announcing the budget. He also demanded incentives for agriculture and overseas Pakistanis.

Another PTI lawmaker Azhar Jadoon criticised why 10 per cent increase in salary was not mentioned in the budget introduced earlier. “Due to public pressure they increased 10 per cent raise.

He said when the government could not protect residency in Quetta how they would be able to maintain law and order situation in the country.

Taking part in debate, MNA Abdul Rahim Mandokhail was of the view that there was much emphasis on tax in this budget.