United opposition rejected Budget for financial year 2020-21

Country needs new mandate says PML-N

Opposition parties in a press conference on Sunday rejected the federal government's budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 as being anti-poor. The opposition leaders lambasted the ruling PTI for being unable to provide people with relief during the coronavirus pandemic. This announcement comes ahead of Monday’s crucial voting in the National Assembly to pass the federal budget.
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari speaking alongside PML-N's Khawaja Asif and Jamaat-i-Islami's (JI) Mian Aslam said the "united opposition" has rejected the government's budget and has issued a joint statement in this regard.
The PPP, PML-N, JI, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Awami National Party, Balochistan National Party-Mengal (BNP-M), National Party, Qaumi Watan Party and some of our independent friends in the National Assembly have rejected this budget said the PPP chairman.
"This budget has united the people against the government. We had thought that the budget would help protect the people's economic rights. Instead of doing that, it has added to their burden," Bilawal said during today's press conference.
The PPP chairman added that the government's unexpected decision to increase the prices of all petroleum products by up to nearly Rs 26, was an "excellent example of this government's hypocrisy".
Responding to a question, Bilawal said that the opposition had played a "responsible role" so far. "When the pandemic hit, we said we will keep partisan issues aside and fight it together.
"Three to four months have passed and this is still our stance, but the prime minister has not taken this seriously. Before the pandemic, he was a threat to our democracy and economy. Now, he is a threat to people's lives and their economic prosperity."
The PPP chairman went on to say that the PTI lacked the leadership needed to combat the pandemic. "You need to have an 'above politics' view [...] the PTI doesn't have such leadership, and citizens are suffering as a result."
The PPP chairman went on to say that the PTI lacked the leadership needed to combat the pandemic. "You need to have an 'above politics' view the PTI doesn't have such leadership, and citizens are suffering as a result."
Bilawal also said that Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif was in contact with all parties despite having the coronavirus. He said that an All Parties Conference will be announced as soon as Shehbaz recovers.
"Even when sick, Shehbaz is making Imran sweat."
Bilawal added that if the government had paid heed to the advice of doctors and other international bodies, the country may have been spared from Covid-19. "The only way to solve the country's problems is through democracy [...] not with selected consensus."
The PTI government still hold majority in the national Assembly and might not face big problems in the approval of budget. The BNP-Mengal’s decision to withdraw support for PTI government has reduced this majority. PTI government has the support of around 180 members of National Assembly-which are 8 more than a simple majority?     
The opposition has 156 seats, as PML-N has 84 seats, PPP 55, Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal Pakistan 15 and Awami National Party has one seat.
Representing the PML-N, Khawaja Asif reiterated that instead of providing people some relief during this difficult time, the government had added to people's difficulties.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan has become a national liability. As long as he is the premier, we are headed towards disaster. The sooner we get rid of him, the more chances we have of salvaging the situation," he said, adding that they will formulate a joint strategy in this regard.
He stated that the manner in which the government's coalition partners were abandoning ship was a sign that its end was near.
He added that that a government that used state institutions to target the opposition was "cowardly", adding that it was now time for them to be held accountable.
Asif said that the opposition will explore all constitutional means to change the government. "There is a need for building consensus within the opposition, which is already there. The PTI has a lot [divisions] at the moment, which will become more visible in the coming days. "[The country] needs a new mandate."
JI's Mian Aslam also criticised the government's ability to address current problems in the budget for the new fiscal year, calling it "unrealistic".
                                                   Political correspondent

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