ISLAMABAD, June 7 (APP): Senators on Tuesday underlined the need for ensuring supremacy of Parliament and rule of law for effectively takling the present day challenges being faced by the country.

Resuming debate on the budget in Senate, Usman Kakar of Pakhtoonkhawa Mili Awami Party said gap between the rich and the poor was widening due to unjust economic and administrative policies.

Efforts should be made to review all the policies for the prosperity of the country, he added.

He said the federating units should be empowered as presently no new National Finance Commission award had been announced nor the budget document reflected the due shares of the provinces.

He said Pakistan was like a bouquet of five flowers, so equal care should be taken of all.

The 18th Constitutional Amendment, which provided for empowering federating units, was not implemented in letter and spirit and certain forces had put hurdles in this regard, he added.

He said the poor were being exploited in the name of Islam and
they were being deprived of their due rights. These people offered sacrifices during martial law era but during democratic regimes, they were not given any bebefits as all the perks were enjoyed by the upper class, he added.

He said the foreign policy should be sovereign. Peace in Afghanistan
was in the interest of Pakistan so efforts should be made to ensure durable peace there, he added.

He said the issues of Pashtoons and Balochs should be resolved
through talks and they should be given their due share in development initiatives under the CPEC. The projects of the western part of the CPEC should be allocated adequate funds, he added.

Saeed Ghani of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said issues like power
loadshedding with circular debt of Rs 650 billion still persisted as
most budgetary targets had been missed. Foreign exchange reserves would exhaust if Pakistan had to pay billions of dollars debt. Despite announcement of Rs 340 billion Kisan relief package, agrculture sector
declined. Exports, he claimed, declined by 10 per cent while the entities, which were not in loss, were privaitized.

He claimed that none of the development projects forwarded by the Sindh government were in PSDP for the current fiscal year.

Zafrullah Dandla of of PML-N appreciated the government for presenting a pro-poor budget as it would extend relief to common people.

Shahi Syed of ANP said the smaller provinces should be given their due rights and they should be taken on board on all important issues.

Jamal Dinni of BNP-M said that budget did not reflect any planning
or funds’ allocation for the construction of new water reservoirs or conservation projects.No remedies had been suggested for issues arisen due to climate changes, he added.

He said wildlife should be protected with steps to control deforestation.
He said the Federal Government should take tangible measures for resolving Balochistan’s issues. Schemes should be worked out to provide gas to areas of Balochistan from Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, he added.

Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Sirajul Haq alleged that more loans were being
taken to retire the existing ones.

He said it was a good omen that a special package was announced for the farmers in the budget. However, five per cent landlords occupied 65 per cent of the land.

He claimed that limited amount was allocated for education and health.
“We even lag behind Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in the two sectors.”

Sirajul Haq called for enhancing funds for the rehabilitation of Temporary Displaced Persons (TDPs) of FATA as Rs 100 billion allocated in the budget for the purpose was not sufficient.

He also noted that no amount was earmarked for small dams and forestation.

He said development projects should be extended to less developed areas.

Sherry Rehman of Pakistan Peoples Party alleged that the NFC award had been ignored in the budget. Certain measures announced in the budget were against the provinces, she added.

She claimed that Sindh was given less share in the PSDP.

She said concrete steps should be been taken to end loadshedding,
circular debt and poverty.

Ayesha Raza of PML-N said the budget had focused on all sectors of economy, giving boost to economic growth.

She said decline in cotton crop production was a worldwide phenomenon  as it was witnessed in China, America and India as well due to unfavourable weather conditions.

She said the government announced a relief package for the farmers, which would encourage them and give boost to the agriculture sector.

She said adequate allocations had been made for important sectors including energy, water and communication, education and health. The budget also reflected hike in funds for several people’s welfare programmes like Rs 4 billion for Pakistan Baitul Mal and Rs 215 billion for BISP.

Farhatullah Babar of PPP said Senate should have a role in adoption of
PSDP portion of the budget since provinces had several reservations.

He opined that Senate should have its representation in the
Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He also called for diverting funds of Islamic Ideology Council to National Commission on Status of Women.

Shibli Faraz of PTI said there should be legislation with regard to CPEC to ensure transparency and protect national interests. Pakistan should engage its own workforce on several projects, he added.