Maybe it is not the finance minister’s fault for producing a budget which reads more like a wish-granting factory than a feasible financial plan. Perhaps the natural consequence of a government announcing the budget for the next year just before it expires is that it will produce a populist budget to win votes, and leave the next government to deal with the impossible implementation.

The budget for the fiscal year 2018-2019 makes many promises but does not include a mechanism for delivering them. Large increases have been given to defence and all other heads under current spending, like subsidies, running of government affairs and debt servicing. The budget also showers incentives on business and industry in quantities never seen before.

With such a huge focus on current expenditure, there needs to be very careful balance to be struck with the revenue plan. However, it seems like the government did not think this one through, as it has not levelled taxes in proportion to the expenditure. The government has opted to reduce the tax burden on the common man — reducing income taxes significantly. Most of the revenue is expected to come from indirect taxes, with an increase in taxes on petroleum and communication technology. It is doubtful that these small increases will be able to sustain the enormous expenditure plan the government has set out.

How will the enormous spending on defence and civil forces be sustained? The finance ministers seems to be banking on the tax amnesty schemes introduced by the government, which are designed to bring in more tax-payers into the net, increasing the revenue. Similar expectations are also placed on the rise of exports, which can placate the deficit. This is an entirely hope-based model, where plans are made on expectations and not realistic estimates, and depending on tax amnesty is a huge risk, considering their past failures.

While the budget seems populist, it does not aim to appease the poor. Income tax breaks benefit the highly salaried classes the most. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of the budget, where the common man loses the most, is the cut in development spending. The federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) has been slashed by 20pc compared to last year’s budgeted amount, falling to Rs800bn this year. With cuts in spending on water and housing, and disproportionate expenditures on military and civil salaried classes, the next financial year looks to be a highly unpredictable one.