LAHORE - The ruling coalition has the required majority in the National Assembly to have the federal budget for 2019-20 approved, claims Mr Naeemul Haq, special assistant to the prime minister.

At a news conference here at the PTI office on Tuesday, he said the opposition parties had decided to not let the government work. However, he made it clear that they would not succeed in their designs.

Mr Naeemul Haq said the ruling coalition had a thin majority in the lower house of parliament. But it had the required numerical strength required for the approval of the budget.

When he was addressing the news conference, the NA speaker had adjourned the session for 20 minutes because of the noisy scenes created by the opposition.

The SAPM said the government had offered the opposition parties to sign a code a conduct for the smooth functioning of the system. “The purpose of the code was to prevent all parties from criticizing the top leaders. These parties had been told that if they used foul language against the premier, they would be deemed to be enemies of democracy.”

The attitude of the opposition during the ongoing session, he said, had established that it was not interested in signing the code.

He made it clear that Mian Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari would be held accountable for their past misdoings. The SAPM said the ruling party had agreed to make Shehbaz Sharif chairman of the Public Accounts Committee for the smooth working of the assembly. However, Mr Shehbaz was not behaving.

He said the government had accepted all six demands of Balochistan leader Akhtar Mengal, whose party was supporting the government without accepting any ministry.

(Shortly after the SAPM’s news conference Mr Mengal was meeting JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman at Islamabad and discussing with him the arrangements for the all-party conference he was going to hold).

He painted a very rosy picture of the economic situation in Pakistan in future. He said the Qatar Emir was going to visit Pakistan after about a week and he had sent a letter to the government expressing keenness to invest $20 billion in power sector and tourism.

The prime minister’s extended meeting with Russian leader Putin was also very encouraging and would produce good results in the times ahead.

Naeemul Haq said the prime minister was trying to save national sources in all possible ways. He had decided to stay at the ambassador’s residence during his visit to the United Nations, a step that would save the money spent by previous rulers on their stay at luxury hotels.

To substantiate the point, the SAPM said it was the PTI that was affording all expenditures of the official meetings being held at the Banigala residence of the premier.

The allocations for various ministries had already been slashed, he said.

Naeemul Haq said the prime minister had afforded an opportunity to people to whiten their black money by paying a small percentage in tax. The deadline for the amnesty scheme was due to expire on June 30, but the prime minister would make another appeal to the people before the deadline.

According to him, the total volume of Pakistan’s economy is about 44,000 billion while the magnitude of black money is 50,000 billion.

The SAPM said the NAB had asked the prime minister to provide them 40-50 judges to decide the pending cases. Once these cases were decided the government would get huge amounts from the accused, he said.