**ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing at the budget session said that the government was ready to listen if the opposition had proposals for electoral reforms. **
The prime minister, at the beginning of his speech, invited all opposition parties to hold talks on electoral reforms and said that we have to take this step today to prevent further allegations of fraud.
"I urge the opposition that elections are a problem for Pakistan and the government is ready to listen if the opposition has proposals for electoral reforms," he said.
He said that the recently held by-elections and Senate elections had also been made controversial.
“Since the elections in country have been controversial after 1970, we are striving to improve the election process. We have proposed election reforms and I will request the opposition to sit with the government, as it pertains to the future of democracy in Pakistan,” he said while speaking on the floor of National Assembly.
PM Imran Khan said the government had been mulling ways to make the elections acceptable to all the parties, and reminded the Opposition that election reforms would benefit democracy.
He said that the PTI government had been trying to bring election reforms for the last two years so parties would accept the results of the election even if they lost. However, the opposition had been refusing to discuss the proposed reforms with the government for over a year, he pointed out.
Moving on to the budget for FY22, the premier said he first wanted to talk about his vision.
The prime minister paid tribute to Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and his team who he said had "made the budget according to my vision for Pakistan".
Prime Minister Imran said the budget should reflect three principles: justice, humanity and self-independence.
Imran, elaborating further, said Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had "made the budget according to my vision for Pakistan".
The prime minister also said that his government is introducing universal health insurance in the country, and all citizens will be given a health card to avail free medical treatment in government or private hospitals of the country.
The premier reaffirmed the government’s commitment to take the economy towards export-led growth.
He said initiatives in this regard are being taken in different sectors including agriculture, livestock and small and medium enterprises.
The Prime Minister said 60 billion rupees have been allocated in the federal budget for the uplift of agriculture sector. Tax exemptions worth 100 billion rupees are also being given to enhance the productivity of this sector and ensure food security.
The prime minister said Punjab government has launched Kissan Card Scheme under which the farmers will be registered to extend them facilitation, the small farmers will be given direct subsidy on inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides, he added.
He said Kissan Markets will also be established so that the farmers get due price of their produce.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while giving a clear and unequivocal message to the United States, said that Pakistan can be partner in peace with the United States but cannot be partner in any conflict.
Prime Minister Imran Khan while addressing at the budget session said that despite sacrificing lives of over 70,000 Pakistanis in the war against terror, Pakistan was declared most dangerous country in the world.
PM Khan said previous governments condemned drone attacks even after allowing the US to carry out drone strikes inside Pakistan. “We have a terrorist sitting in London for the past 30 years, will England allow us to carry out a drone attack?” he remarked. Imran Khan further said that Pakistan will never compromise on national security.
Reminding the public about the decisions taken for national security in the past, he said that Pakistan took part in the US war when he was in the opposition and he was humiliated at that time. “I had just one seat at that time but always raised question on Pakistan’s role in the Afghan war,” he said, adding Pakistan made a mistake by joining the Afghan war.
Imran Khan said: “Pakistan helped America but on the contrary we were declared the most dangerous country in the world, adding that Pakistan did whatever the US asked.”
The prime minister also said that we don’t want any strategic depth in Afghanistan. “We will not become any party, we will only side with those whom the people of Afghanistan will elect,” Imran Khan said.
Bilawal, FM Qureshi exchange heated words
Earlier today, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi exchanged heated words during a noisy session of the NA.
While speaking in the House, Bilawal Bhutto alleged that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had rigged the yesterday’s votes to get federal budget 2021-22 approved. As per the rules, the NA speaker was required to count when a voice vote was challenged, he added.
He said that the budget presented by the federal government will cause economic disaster.
Meanwhile, in his address, the FM strongly bashed PPP chairman for accusing PTI of violating parliamentary tradition. How can Bilawal challenge the legitimacy of the budget, he asked.
He said that the opposition should also respect the vote instead of only raising slogans. No one can hurt the reputation of NA speaker, he went on to say.