Islamabad: First Lady of Pakistan and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Aseefa Bhutto-Zardari took exception to Budget 2024-25, saying that the people of Pakistan deserved a better financial plan for the next fiscal year as she delivered her maiden speech in the National Assembly on Sunday.

Aseefa was recognised as the first lady earlier this year in March and was later elected as the member of parliament on the Shaheed Benazirabad seat, NA-207, which was vacated by her father, Asif Ali Zardari on becoming the president of Pakistan.

The lower house session convened to debate the budget was marred by ruckus as the government and opposition benches remained divided over a military operation, Azm-e-Istehkam to root out terrorism from the country.

In her opening remarks, Aseefa said it was an emotional moment for her as she addressed the assembly for the first time.

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“An emotional moment for me today, standing here addressing the house that both my grandparents, my parents and brothers had been part of. I bow my head before Almighty Allah,” she said.

Voicing PPP’s concerns regarding the federal budget, the lady MNA said that the country found itself in another challenging situation due to deteriorating economic indicators.

She said that the government had presented its budget at a time when the country was facing unprecedented employment, inflation, poverty, climate change and other catastrophes.

“We envisioned a budget that addressed the core needs of the people of Pakistan. A budget that did not wish to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. A budget that did not seek to benefit large corporations at the expense of vulnerable of our society,” Aseefa added.

She asked if the federal budget met the expectations of masses, adding that the budget 2024-25 did not represent the people of Pakistan.

She said that the budget should have prioritised the welfare of farmers, labourers and the working class, and sought to lessen the gap of wealth and inequality.

“Do the people of Pakistan deserve this anti-people budget,”she asked, adding that the all stakeholders must work together to do better for the citizens and provide relief to the downtrodden segments of the society.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government has set a challenging tax revenue target of Rs13 trillion for the year starting July 1, a near 40% jump from the current year, in the budget that looked to strengthen the case for a new bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The ambitious revenue targets for the fiscal year through June 2025, presented by Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb in parliament on June 12, were in line with analyst expectations.

Total spending was Rs18.87 trillion.

The PPP, an ally of the ruling party at the Centre, expressed concerns with the government for not taking it into confidence regarding the federal budget.

The two sides have been in talks over the complaints put forward by the former over the proposed financial plan.

Earlier today, sources told Geo News that the PML-N-led government accepted all demands of its major ally, the PPP regarding the federal budget.

“The government will prefer the PPP for development funds and appointments on administrative posts in Punjab,” the sources said following the third round of talks between the negotiating committees of the two allies.