GB presents Rs1.6tr budget amid opposition boycott

GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government on Saturday presented Rs1.6 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 amid opposition boycott of the budget session.

Of the total outlay, Rs44 billion have been allocated for development and Rs51 billion for non-development purposes.

An amount of Rs10 billion has been allocated for transportation and payment of subsidy on wheat.

The opposition members boycotted the budget session and tore the budget copies, and also raised slogans against government.

The budget session was chaired by Speaker Amjad Hussain Zaidi.

Finance minister Javed Ali Manwa presented the budget, Announcing a 10 per cent increase in the salaries of government employees. He also proposed minimum salary of contingent employees at Rs20,000 per month.

Mr Manwa said the present budget was 54 per cent higher than the previous one. He said billions of rupees had been allocated for development of power, tourism, health, education and agriculture infrastructure in the region.

He said the revenue target for the new financial year had been set at Rs2 billion.

When the budget speech started, opposition leader Amjad Hussain Advocate of Pakistan Peoples Party, and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl and Balwaristan National Front (Naji group) lawmakers stood in their chairs and started protesting.

They tore up the copies of the budget document and raised slogans. Later, they walked out of the session.

Talking to mediapersons outside the assembly building, opposition leader Amjad Hussain alleged that the government would utilise the budget to facilitate the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf workers.

He also alleged that the budget had focused only those areas where PTI candidates had won.

On the occasion, Balwaristan National Front (Naji group) leader Nawaz Khan Naji condemned the ‘discrimination’ against opposition in allocation of funds in the budget.

He said the opposition would challenge the budget in court.

In a separate development, unknown gunmen killed a college teacher and injured another in Karimabad area of Hunza on Friday night.

The police said the assailants opened fire on a car, killing a man namely Habib, a teacher in a government college, and injuring another identified as Rahat Karim.

Both were residents of Karimabad. The body and the wounded were shifted to the Civil Hospital Aliabad.

The police registered a case and started further investigations.

Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2021

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