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NA approves 42 grants relating to various divisions.

Islamabad -- The National Assembly approved 42 demands for grants relating to various divisions, rejecting all cut motions moved by the opposition through majority vote during the budget session on Thursday.

Prime Minister Imran Khan and Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif also participated in the voting process.

Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar had presented Demands of Grants for various institutions, divisions and ministries, while opposition parties had moved cut motions.

In all, the House rejected at least 323 cut motions and accepted Demands of Grants worth Rs227.15 billion and Rs25.62bn presented by the Power Division and the Petroleum Division respectively.

On the other hand, the assembly approved the defence budget worth Rs1.163 trillion without any hurdle as the opposition didn't move any cut motion against the demand.

Earlier in the day, a ruckus erupted in the assembly after Leader of Opposition in the NA Shahbaz Sharif called Prime Minister Imran Khan a 'selected prime minister' while criticising the latest spree of inflation. The speaker expunged the word selected from the proceedings but Sharif again used the word while criticising the government over the recent unprecedented devaluation of rupee against the dollar.

The opposition leader challenged Omar Ayub Khan's statement that the PML-N had abandoned renewable energy projects to accommodate expensive LNG plants.

Omar Ayub had said that the PTI government had paid Rs100 million electricity bill of the Prime Minister House for the last five year period of the PML-N government.

'We are paying for the wrong policies of the previous governments. The increase in the prices of gas and electricity is because of the policies of the previous governments,' he claimed.

Talking about the electricity sector, he said there was an extra burden of Rs200 billion on the kitty due to the capacity charges. 'We have decided not to renew the agreements with independent power producers (IPPs) after their expiry.'

Criticising the previous regimes, he said, 'We are clearing the landmines laid by previous governments. Previous governments didn't take action against power thieves in the last year to win elections. We registered 30,000 FIRs against power theft and took action against 500 officials of the department who were also involved in it.'

He added that the previous government had blocked 250 renewable energy projects, which the incumbent regime had revived.

Asad Qaiser directed the media to avoid reporting the expunged words from the proceedings.

PML-N leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi also criticised the government for what he called an unprecedented increase in gas prices. He rejected the accusation that the PML-N was responsible for inflation, saying: 'We didn't increase gas prices during our government.'

He claimed that there was surplus electricity and gas in the country when the PML-N's tenure had ended.

'The main issue is power losses. We have heard that the government wants to shift the head office to Islamabad. Such administrative measures will not resolve the problems.'

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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 28, 2019
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