ISLAMABAD - While opposition parties have blasted the government for presenting what they called an ‘illegal’ budget to allegedly influence the upcoming general election, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership has conveyed to treasury members to ensure their presence in the Parliament during all proceedings till the passage of the finance bill 2018-19.

The opposition has expressed its reservations in and outside the Parliament stating that the PML-N government had presented the budget despite the opposition of three federating units.

The main opposition parties, the Pakistan People’s Party and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf staged a walkout from the budget session and created a rumpus in the House during the budget presentation. They have warned that ignoring the provinces in the Public Sector Development Programme formulation will only alienate the federating units and undermine the federation.

On the other hand, the government had been facing the quorum issue in the National Assembly for running the normal proceedings in the past.

Keeping in view the disinterest of treasury lawmakers and protest of the opposition, sources said, the government members have been asked to ensure their presence till the passage of the bill in each session. The 6th federal budget of the PML-N government is likely to be passed on May 15.

Major opposition parties will likely disapprove of the clauses of the 6th finance bill and give a tough time to the government with its numerical strength.

Some of the ruling party members had already shown disinterest in the parliamentary affairs during the last many National Assembly sessions.  The National Assembly’s proceedings, in the last five sessions, were suspended on a number of occasions due to the lack of quorum, leading to adjournments.

As a major setback to the PML-N, some of its members recently parted ways with it. These members of the Lower House did not participate in the budget proceedings on the first.

The government, in budgetary sessions, always needs a maximum strength to pass the finance bill with a majority vote.

In order to pass ‘cut motions’ (part of budgetary proceedings), the government has to ensure the maximum strength in the House.

“If a cut motion is adopted by the Parliament and the government does not have the required numbers, it is obliged to resign,” according to the rules and procedure. The cut motions can be moved to reduce the demand for grants. 

The opposition parties have already conveyed to the govt to get authorization of the only four-month budget from the Parliament leaving the rest of the financial plan for the next elected government. 

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, responding to concerns raised by the opposition in the Parliament, had made it clear that it was the government’s constitutional obligation to present the budget for the smooth running of the country’s affairs. “It is not unconstitutional and purely in accordance with the Constitution,” said the premier.