Budget 2012-13: farming sector to get relief: Prime Minister
April 24, 2012: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Monday the government would provide relief to farming sector and the common man in the budget for 2012-13. In an interaction with print media journalists at the Prime Minister””s House, Gilani also said that there was consensus among coalition partners on the need for creation of a ””Seraiki Province””.
According to him, the government is seriously considering holding local bodies election in the Islamabad Capital Territory. The government, he said, would arrest General Pervez Musharraf on his return and stated that terms of new engagement with the US would be finalised in the next Defence Committee of the Cabinet meeting in light of Parliamentary Committee on National Security recommendations.
The Prime Minister said he had directed his economic team to prepare proposals for providing relief to farmers and the common man in the next fiscal year budget through programmes like Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and also fix priorities to resolve the energy crisis. He said that budget strategy paper for the next fiscal year prepared by the Finance Ministry would be approved by the next cabinet meeting after a discussion on the proposal of economic team which had been directed to come up with its proposals in light of recommendations of the previous Cabinet meeting. Gilani said he had also directed the economic team to make creation of new 100,000 jobs a part of the budget.
In reply to a question about Pakistan Muslim League (N) demand for an early election, Gilani said the government would have to take coalition partners into confidence in that regard. To a question about ””Seraiki Province””, he said there was consensus among the coalition partners for the creation of “Seraiki Province” and the government would still prefer to evolve consensus despite commanding a majority. Gilani said he was not against the creation of new provinces in any part of the country provided it was done in accordance with Constitution. He said he had spoken to coalition partners including chiefs of Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Awami National Party (ANP) and Balochistan National Party after President Asif Ali Zardari””s recent statement about the creation of Seraiki Province and all of them had assured him their support. Gilani claimed that Asfandyar Wali Khan of ANP, and Israr ullah Zahri of Balochistan National Party had said that Seraiki province was also part of their manifesto while parliamentarians of Fata were ready to support the government on the issue. About Pakistan Muslim League (Q), Gilani was of the view that the party had tried a number of times in the Punjab Assembly to move a resolution for the creation of Seraiki province, but was not able to push it through due to a lack of majority. The Prime Minister said there was nothing impossible in the politics and the government would be able to evolve consensus in Parliament towards the creation of Seraiki province.
Replying to questions about Balochistan, Gilani said that law and order situation had been overshadowing all the efforts made by the government through Aghaz-e-Haqooq-e-Balochistan Package to alleviate the grievances of the people of the deprived province. He said that the government would arrest former President Pervez Musharraf on his return to Pakistan in Nawab Akbar Bugti murder case.
The Prime Minister also tried to defend the expansion of the Cabinet, saying that the 60-member cabinet was in line with 11 percent of the total strength of the Parliament as recommended in the 18th Constitutional Amendment. According to him, 60 members constitute 11 percent of 446-member Parliament.
The Prime Minister said the government was seriously considering holding local bodies election in the Federal Capital to be administered by a “Mayor” as is being done in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and other countries. He said he had directed his colleagues to work in that regard while the President had already given his nod. Gilani said the government wanted friendly relations with the US in line with the recommendations of Parliamentary Committee on National Security and next Cabinet Committee on Defence would receive a presentation and subsequently a US team would be visiting Pakistan for holding discussion on terms of future engagement between the two countries.