Govt in difficult straits prior to budget

ISLAMABAD   –   The coalition government, after taking an unpopular decision to increase prices of petroleum products, has to take another tough decision before the presentation of federal budget 2022-23.

The present government has to decide three important matters including verification of submitted resignations of PTI MNAs, formation of parliamentary bodies and electoral reforms committee.

The matter of evolving consensus over one name for the top slot of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has also become troublesome for the coalition government, as the main allies (PML-N and PPP-P) are not on the same page. Though the PML-N with the support of allies has passed amendments in the NAB ordinance, it has apparently been facing a trust deficit to agree on one name.

The PPP-P, the second largest parliamentary party in the National Assembly (NA) has proposed the name of former Supreme Court Judge Maqbool Baqir which clearly indicates its disagreement with the PML-N on appointment of NAB’s chief. The ruling PML-N has reportedly interested in developing consensus over the names  of former bureaucrat Fawad Hasan Fawad or former FIA’s DG Bashir Memon.

The former bureaucrat may not be suitable for the important slot as it has remained under trial of the country’s top accountability body (NAB). The main allied partner (PPP-P) may seemingly soon raise objections over the name of Bashir Memon for the slot. Political and constitutional experts viewed that the main match for evolving consensus over the name of NAB chairman would be between PPP-P and PML-N. The dialogue between the opposition leader of the National Assembly Raja Riaz and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would only be a procedural, as the former would not create any hurdle in it.

Likewise, the government has to open Pandora’s box about the verification of resigned PTI MNAs before the presentation of the federal budget 2022-23.

The NA speaker’s office, according to the sources, has completed the verification process by checking the original signature of the MNAs etc. The decision over the resignations of some of the prominent PTI MNAs is likely to be taken in the next week.

Talking to the Nation, PTI’s senior leader Shireen Mazari said, they have submitted their resignations a couple of months ago. The National Assembly speaker should accept these resignations, said Mazari.

The government has also to form an electoral reforms committee in the next week, as it has yet to receive names from religious political party [JUI-F] and PTI. National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, last week had written letters to all the parliamentary leaders in the National Assembly to forward nominations from their respective parties for the Parliamentary Committee on Electoral Reforms.

Another important matter regarding formation of the incomplete standing committees is also necessary to be solved. The government has to appoint chairmen of headless parliamentary committees, so that the discussion over the federal budget 2022-23 could be ensured.

The coalition government, currently facing plethora of challenges, also has no option but to ensure disposing of all these important political matters in less than two weeks.

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