Shahbaz Sharif’s budget speech or hullabaloo

It is ironic that Shahbaz Sharif, Leader of Opposition could not deliver his speech till 19th June, due to a week of hullabaloo in the National Assembly; budget was presented on 11th June. He delivered a speech which went on for more than 3 hours, touched upon a number of topics, including PML-N government’s performance, state of economy, International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan, foreign debt, rate of US dollar — and the budget. Shahbaz said the budget had only brought a message of disappointment for the people. His concluding point was, “We completely reject this budget.

He said, “If they were to make a people’s budget, there were five things that were important: 1) employment opportunities, 2) raising gross domestic product (GDP), 3) increasing exports and trade, 4) further reducing prices, and 5) providing social and economic justice.” Shahbaz claimed that the budget was “IMF-led and IMF-dictated”. He also claimed, “They will compromise on such crucial national interests that the economic and political situation of Pakistan will further worsen.

His speech was nothing but full of absurdities, as he failed in presenting alternatives that could bring Pakistan out of the current economic mess. If Shahbaz was critical of the IMF conditions, people have not forgotten, Imran Khan’s past narratives also but both have approached IMF.

Responding to Shahbaz’s speech, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub said that flaws that were being highlighted by the PML-N were the result of their own policies. He reminded the house that both PPP and PML-N approached the IMF seven and three times respectively. However, this also did not justify PTI’s belated approach to IMF. Accusing IMF seems to be the best scapegoat for the opposition parties but they also fail in introducing policies that could allow the country to live without IMF.

If the ruling junta and opposition is serious about bringing prosperity in the country, they should stop accusing each other and make a fresh beginning. Bring the country out of current malice is not the sole responsibility of the incumbent government, but also the responsibility of the political parties sitting on opposition benches.

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