Of all the legislation, parliaments do the most crucial is the passage of the annual budget. That the Opposition in the parliament would let the government pass the federal budget without offering it the obligated resistance is unthinkable, but not in Pakistan.
Apparently, both on the final and penultimate days of budget discussion in the National Assembly, the Opposition had bartered away its role inside the house to capitalize on developments outside the house. On Monday, the Opposition members staged a walkout protesting against unrelenting load shedding that contributed to hundreds of deaths in Karachi, and the treasury benches approved nearly 50 budgetary grants for various ministries and departments.
The Opposition had tabled scores of cut motions on these demands, but left the house not to return for the day, sparing the bureaucracy of the usual ridicule stemming from discussion on their demands.
On Tuesday, the Opposition members staged yet another walkout and turned it into a boycott, leaving the field open for the treasury benches to pass the Finance Bill 2015 with some amendments of its choice.
Due to the absence of the Opposition members all of its 1550 prepared cut motions stood deleted from the proceedings. And a fairly relaxed Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had the last laugh, not only did he advise the political opposition to keep the national economy separate from politics, he also invited all the political parties to sign a ‘Charter of Economy for medium and long-term economic development of the country’.
And if there was a ‘threat’ from the Opposition to requisition a session of the National Assembly to debate and expose the gross failure of the PML (N)-led coalition government, the finance minister was willing to have the ongoing budget session extended by some days.
Conceded, the easy passage of federal budget in the absence of the Opposition from the house is at best a Pyrrhic victory for the government, but the failure of Opposition in this particular instance is also massive.
Source: Business Recorder