PTI slams budget as ‘economic terrorism’, made by an ‘economic hitman’
Finance Minister Mohd Aurangzeb presented his first federal budget with a total outlay of PKRs18.9 trillion last week.

at 10:51 pm
Leader of Opposition in the NA Omar Ayub attacking the budget

Islamabad, June 20: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has termed the budget 2024-25 presented by the federal government in the National Assembly last week as “economic terrorism” and against the interests of the people 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.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb presented his first federal budget with a total outlay of PKRs18.9 trillion last week. The budget for the upcoming year aims for a modest 3.6 per cent GDP growth, and sets an ambitious PKRs13tr tax collection target, raising taxes on salaried classes and removing tax exemptions for the rest.

The budget was presented to strengthen Islamabad’s case for a new bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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.

Pakistan is seeking an Extended Fund Facility from the IMF to support its economic plans. Islamabad is said to be seeking $6 to $8 billion from the Fund under a three-year programme.

This will be the 25th IMF programme as the country struggles to implement structural reforms recommended by the international lenders.

“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 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 “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.

Speaking at a Senate session, PTI lawmaker Ali Zafar said the budget for the next fiscal year cannot deliver.

“This budget cannot work until the stolen mandate is returned,” he said, holding the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) responsible for the prevailing political crisis.

“The budget has been imposed upon the people due to ECP, hence I challenge the legitimacy of this budget.”