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PML-Q airs reservations just ahead of budget

PML-Q airs reservations just ahead of budget

LAHORE: The PML-Q, the ruling PTI’s ally in the Centre and Punjab, has once again raised reservations ahead of the federal and Punjab budgets and warned that they will not support the government in the budget sessions.

Sources say the PML-Q leaders want that their reservations be addressed. However, they did not explain their concerns.

It is learnt that PML-Q MNA Tariq Bashir Cheema had recently demanded that the prime minister should hold a separate meeting with the PML-Q to address their reservations.

Sources in the PTI government claim that the PML-Q leaders always wanted empowerment in their respective constituencies (where PML-Q candidates won the 2018 general election) including say in transfers and postings and development funds. They say the PML-Q leaders pressurise the government whenever they feel that the government needs their support.

A PML-Q delegation led by MNA Moonis Elahi had held meetings with Chief Minister Usman Buzdar and discussed development package for Gujrat. The Punjab government had recently approved a development package worth Rs10bn for Gujrat district as schemes have been included in the Annual Development Programme for the financial year 2021-22.

The PTI ally PML-Q assumed increased importance in the wake of Jahangir Tareen group members’ threats to the government that they could absent themselves from the budget session as they were looking for relief for their leader.

This reporter made several attempts to contact federal minister Tariq Bashir Cheema but he neither attended the call nor did he respond to WhatsApp messages.

Meanwhile, Governor Chaudhry Sarwar said “the reservations of the allies on certain issues is the beauty of the democracy”. He said the PTI government allies including PML-Q were standing with the government and surely vote for the passage of the budgets in the Centre and Punjab. He said the government would provide relief to people in every sector in the next budget and have it approved.

Tareen group which recently hurled warning that the group members (who had swelled to 40 MNAs and MPAs) would not vote for the passage of the budget is conspicuously silent. Mr Tareen himself was also very critical of the FIA for framing him under different charges including money laundering and sought Prime Minister Imran Khan’s intervention to dispense justice to him.

Tareen group members remained tight-lipped over their strategy in the next budget when contacted for their stance. They quoted their leader as having told them “the PTI is our party, this is our government and budget is for public interest”.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2021

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