All coalition partners need to own the policy decisions of the government, Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said, a day after Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed concerns over the “non-allocation” of funds for flood victims in the budget.
“All coalition partners were consulted at the time of budget preparation. The federal cabinet, which approved the budget, had all the members of the coalition,” he said at the inauguration of the development division in Narowal on Saturday. “I hope our coalition partners, who are very responsible, will realise that criticising each other in the political gatherings will create uncertainty and if you have any complaints, the PM has always resolved your complaints.”
His comments came after Bilawal indicated on Saturday that his party would not vote for the budget unless their concerns were addressed. The differences among the ruling coalition are coming to light as the ruling alliance’s tenure is nearing its end.
Bilawal said that the prime minister had promised to keep funds for the rehabilitation of flood victims in the budget, however, some members of his team “were not fulfilling those promises”. He claimed that the budget presented in Parliament had very little input from the PPP.
In reaction on Sunday, Iqbal said that PM Shehbaz Sharif always tried to include coalition partners’ input in all policy decisions.
He advised coalition partners to avoid speaking at political gatherings and raise issues in cabinet and committee meetings in order to avoid any uncertainty. “We should avoid opening a new front against each other.”
He added that members of the ruling alliance should realise their national responsibility. “PM Shehbaz gives more importance to its coalition partners than PML-N. On many occasions, we complain with the premier that he prioritises allies above party members,” Iqbal said.
“The incumbent government is a coalition government,” he said and added that the PML-N was trying to take policy decisions with the input of all the allies.
The National Economic Council approves the development budget that includes chief ministers of all provinces, the planning minister added.
“The development programme in the budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 was finalised after a nod from all chief ministers,” Iqbal said, “all the coalition partners should own the decisions which were taken with all parties’ approval.”
Iqbal said that the government has formulated a roadmap for the progress of the country after the PML-N “saved the country from default”.
The federal government has disbursed more than Rs80 billion to the flood victims of Sindh and Balochistan through the BISP scheme, he added.