ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly on Friday passed the Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation (FRLD) (Amendment) Bill, 2022 with a majority vote for reducing the federal fiscal deficit and the public debt-to-GDP ratio to a “prudent” level by effective management.
The session was chaired by NA Deputy Speaker Zahid Akram Durrani.
Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha presented the previous government’s bill for approval in the House.
The bill was passed by a majority despite the opposition members’ reservations.
Speaking on a point of objection, Noor Alam Khan, a dissident PTI member, noted that some anchors and TV channels were now openly campaigning against the Pakistan Army.
He demanded that the government should take immediate action against these elements.
Federal Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb replied that the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra), Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and her ministry had taken stern notice of the smear campaign “launched by the PTI” against the military.
She added that the data of the campaign against the institutions would be presented in the House soon.
The minister claimed that fake accounts were being used for the smear drive.
“No concession will be given to those who insult the army and judiciary. There is a law to ban such TV channels.”
PML-N’s Mian Javed Latif noted that the decisions of a government — that had been around for four weeks only – were being taken suo motu notice of.
He was referring to the Supreme Court’s decision on Thursday to restrain the executive authorities from transferring, posting and removal of officials involved in the investigation or prosecution of high-profile corruption cases against top government functionaries, especially Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz.
Hearing a suo motu case regarding the alleged government interference in the affairs of prosecution as well as investigation branches in high-profile cases, a five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, also held that no prosecution case would be withdrawn until the next date of hearing – May 27.
“How will the system work [if this goes on]?” Latif added.
“If the chief executive of the country can’t even replace an inspector, then a meeting of the National Security Council should be called and all the issues should be placed before it.”
The PML-N leader complained that in the past, five provincial police chiefs were changed over on one WhatsApp message, but no suo motu notice was taken.
“[PTI Chairman] Imran Khan is attacking institutions at public gatherings, but nobody is taking suo motu notice of this? Imran says that the families of military officials will also participate in his long march.”
Protesting against the low attendance of ministers in the House, GDA member Fahmida Mirza claimed that the quorum was not met.
“How will the House function if the opposition is not given time?” she asked.
Irked over the deputy speaker over turning off her microphone, PPP MNA Shagufta Jumani told him not to adopt the measures of the previous PTI regime.
“Turning off the microphone of a member is an insult to them,” she added.
The session was later adjourned till 4 pm on Monday.