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PPP Accuses PML-N Government of Exclusion in Budget Discussions, Threatens Political Response

ISLAMABAD: On Tuesday, Shazia Marri, the Information Secretary of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government at the Centre has failed to consult its key ally regarding the federal budget for 2024-25.

Addressing a press conference, Marri expressed the PPP’s reservations regarding the budgetary proposals put forth by the ruling Nawaz-led party for the upcoming fiscal year.

This statement emerged from a significant political ally of the ruling PML-N in the coalition government, following the presentation of the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2023-24 by the Finance Minister, a pre-budget document detailing macroeconomic indicators during the outgoing fiscal year.

Marri, a Member of the National Assembly (MNA), disclosed that the PPP’s parliamentary party convened an important session chaired by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari to deliberate on the budget for 2024-25. During this session, party lawmakers conveyed their reservations to the top leadership.

“We are encountering difficulties due to the federal government’s attitude towards the PPP,” Marri stated, emphasizing that her party would face challenges if farmers are not granted relief in the upcoming budget.

Marri expressed disappointment that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was seemingly unaware of their stance, mentioning that the federal government did not fulfill agreements made with the PPP.

She announced that PPP parliamentarians would reconvene for another crucial session at 2:30 tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the federal budget further. Responding to a question, she reiterated that the Bilawal-led party had no intention of joining the PML-N government’s federal cabinet.

On Sunday, another senior PPP leader, Syed Khurshid Ahmed Shah, voiced similar reservations about his party not being consulted regarding the forthcoming federal budget for 2024-25.

“The government neither briefed us on budget-related matters nor sought our input. We are unaware of the PML-N’s actions regarding privatization policy, taxes, and development programs,” Shah remarked.

Shah highlighted that the PPP lacked information on relief measures and questioned whether the government was formulating the budget or if it was dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He stressed that their proposals should be incorporated into the federal budget regardless. “People will question our actions. Shall we tell them that we are oblivious?” he pondered.

Shah emphasized that the Bilawal Bhutto-led party would need to carefully consider its political stance regarding the budget announcement scheduled for June 12.

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