PTI says federal budget against ‘nation, country’s interest’

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“The pot calling the kettle black,” says Omar Ayub over PM Shehbaz’s announcement to eliminate corruption

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has termed the budget 2024-25 presented by the federal government in the National Assembly last week against the interests of the country and nation.

“This budget was made by an economic hitman,” said Opposition Leader Omar Ayub Khan while addressing on floor of the National Assembly on Thursday.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government has set a challenging tax revenue target of 13 trillion rupees ($46.66 billion) for the year starting July 1, a near 40% jump from the current year, in the budget that looked to strengthen the case for a new bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The ambitious revenue targets for the fiscal year through June 2025, presented by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb in parliament on June 12, were in line with analyst expectations. Total spending was 18.87 trillion rupees ($68 billion).

Speaking about the ambitious targets set in the federal budget, Ayub said the investors do not inject their capital in countries where the rule of law is not supreme.

The opposition leader said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had asked the government to negotiate with all stakeholders to evolve consensus over the federal budget.

“The wings of this finance minister [Muhammad Aurangzeb] have been clipped,” the PTI secretary-general claimed, alleging that the government’s economic figures are based on lies.

“The economic survey [2023-2024] is also based on lies.”

He further said that the unemployment and inflation increased substantially and per capita income also declined in the country.

On Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s announcement that he would eliminate corruption from the country, Ayub laughed off his statement, saying: “The pot calling the kettle black.”

He said PM Shehbaz, despite being implicated in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) cases, pledged to rid the country of corruption.

Ayub said those involved in the “corruption cases cannot eliminate corruption from the country”.

“Charity begins at home. Start [accountability] charity from Hudaibiya Paper Mills, London flats and Sugar mills,” he said referring to the references filed against the Sharif family in the past.

“This government is of and for the corrupt people. This government is based on corruption,” the opposition leader said, reiterating allegations that his party’s mandate was stolen in the February 8 elections.