Pakistani MPs demand cut in presidency expenditure

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Islamabad, Jun 20 (UNI) Majority of National Assembly members belonging to the ruling Pakistani coalition government demanded a cut in the annual budget of the presidency during debate on budget for the year 2008-09.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) MNA Ahsan Iqbal joined voice of a number of other MPs on last day of debate on budget yesterday, describing the allocation of Rs 350 million for the Presidency as totally unjustified.

''It seems a joke that the President of a poor nation whose debt servicing and balance of payment gap is increasing with each passing day is spending so lavishly on staff, household expenses,'' Mr Iqbal said.

He added that it is totally unjustified to spend such a lavish amount for one person, who has done nothing for the nation.

During the last regime of former President Rafiq Tarar, the expenditure of the Presidency was brought down to Rs 16 crore, which now has again been revised upward to Rs 35 crore for 2008-09.

Later, winding up the weeklong general debate on the federal budget for 2008-09, Finance Minister Syed Naveed Qamar yesterday spelled out the government's future strategy for preparation of budget.

He said the proposed expenditure to be part of the budget would be tabled in the National Assembly in the month of March to give maximum time to the lawmakers to add their inputs.

The PML(N) has been demanding impeachment of President Musharraf for what they call restoration of genuine democracy in the country.

Musharraf, whose political ally, Pakistan Muslim League (Q) was trounced in the February 18 election, recently told media he had no plans to resign, adding that he was not conspiring against elected government and wanted to see democracy on rails in the country.

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