It is done. The chaotic cacophony that was the budget session in the Nation Assembly has been wrapped up with the passing of the Finance Bill 2019-20. In the end the Opposition could do little to stop the passage of the bill, they lacked the numbers from the start, but they have done enough to drag the treasury benches through a gauntlet of accusations and criticism – which is perhaps what they had realistically set out to do.

The government might breathe a sigh of relief knowing their ordeal is over, but the bitter memories will long stay alive in the public’s memory. This budget was forced through, no compromises, no exceptions. The government eschewed consensus and beat back every single notable amendment and cut motion proposed by the opposition while a diverse cast from the treasury benches kept slinging mud on previous governments. As far as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) was concerned, the session was a distasteful formality it had to sit through, not utilized to foster debate and discussion.

To be fair to the government the Opposition wasn’t exactly a paragon of parliamentary procedure and etiquette. Theatrics, demonstrations, protests and rhetoric were the order of the day with many politicians keeping one eye on the constituencies back home and the sound-bite hungry media in in the galleries. Genuine objections – such as the question of the increase in the budget allocated to the Prime Minister House - and constructive criticism – such as the proposals to restore the education development budget – were lost in the din.

However, to be fair once again, the treasury voted down every amendment proposed as a principle, there was little to be gained from seeking to alter the budget.

As a result this session seemed to be about everything apart from the money matters themselves. When the person responsible for presenting the bill, Minister for Revenue Hammad Azhar, is more concerned with calling the opposition “thieves” with as much gusto as the erstwhile Information Minister, and the opposition more concerned with finding creative ways to call the Prime Minister “selected” there is little constructive that can be expected.

That is a shame given how much this budget is going to impact the common man. Increased tax rates and utility tariffs, more import duties and lower development budgets, higher inflation and slower GDP growth, all bookended by a spiraling Rupee – the picture is grim.

The Parliament has failed to discharge their duties with sincerity.