The Pakistani economy was not doing great to begin with – which is why the country had to yet again, go back to the IMF for assistance – the coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated the situation. Economic growth has stalled and inflation has been on the rise. With economic slowdown, the government has been increasingly short of resources necessary to run the country. The pandemic has increased the burden while also negatively affecting the resources at the government’s disposal.

The fact is that this is a unique situation, which has necessitated special measures that the government has had to take. The Senate’s rejection of the cut in its budget while proposing a 10 percent increase in the salaries of government employees shows that the body may not share the federal government’s vision of implementing austerity measures. Far too often in the developing world, we have seen governments cut funds to the public in the name of austerity while adopting a different policy for themselves. However, if the Senate’s objection is grounded in constitutional reasons, then the law must be followed. Any policy implemented by a democratic government has to fall within the ambit of the constitution. Understandably, this may frustrate its efforts sometimes, which are meant for the good of the people, but these checks and rules exist for a good reason.

If the government disagrees with them, the only option before it is to pass an amendment as outlined in the constitution itself. If the government in this case has indeed acted legally, then the Senate should support its policy. Perhaps it would have been honourable if the Senate had itself proposed possible cuts in its budgets. During such difficult times, the only funds available to government bodies should be the ones necessary to perform their functions. The rest should be spent on the people, who are most distressed and vulnerable. It is hoped the matter would be resolved soon.