ISLAMABAD - The political colour remained dominant on budget debate in the National Assembly on Friday, as the lawmakers from PPP and PML-N continued levelling charges against each other for having skeletons in the cupboards while just 20 per cent chunk of their speeches was directly focused on Finance Bill 2009-10. Opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly while terming 15 per cent raise in salaries of government employees insufficient and budget very disappointing have demanded the government to withdraw capital value tax from the property. Apart from political rhetoric, there was one point on which the most of the members from treasury as well as Opposition benches agreed and it was the demand of raising allocations for education and health sectors. The PPP lawmakers who could not manage to react to the speech of PML-N central leader Khawaja Asif on Thursday vented their anger on Friday and strongly defended the politics of PPP Co-Chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari, besides taunting N-League parliamentarians for their Quaids alleged pardon deal with a military dictator. At one stage, PML-N MNA Capt (Retd) Safdar threatened to stage walkout from the House along with his party lawmakers on the issue of non-granting additional time to speak by the chair. The parliamentarians belonging to southern Punjab in their speeches lamented over less allocation of funds for the region and feared that it might spread extremism in the underdeveloped area. Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Syed Sumsam Ali Bukhari responded to Oppositions criticism and underlined the need for forging more political unity to effectively combat and uproot the menace of extremism and terrorism from the country. He appealed to the political leadership including coalition partners and those who were not in the Parliament to own the war on terror. He said it was imperative to deal with militants and so-called Taliban with an iron hand. Bukhari said the government had earmarked Rs 70 billion for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) for welfare of the downtrodden segments of the society. He said that Rs 37 billion had been allocated for development of agriculture infrastructure and it would ensure easy farm to market access for farmers, besides improving the national economy. He said the PPP government had always given priority to water conservation and was cognisant of the energy demand and, therefore, had initiated work on a number of dams including Diamer Bhasha. He said that during the previous government, India had constructed 62 dams on the rivers of Chenab, Indus and Jhelum, and the rulers did nothing to stop Indian encroachment on water share of Pakistan. On the questions raised by PML-N leaders regarding Benazir Bhuttos assassination probe, the Minister said, We have been asked why the culprits behind the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto are not unveiled. We want to maintain peace and atmosphere of reconciliation in the country. Time is not far away when the persons involved in martyrdom of Benazir will be exposed. Amir Haider Shah said that instead of union council, the water filtration plants should be installed in the villages as the water-borne diseases were spreading rapidly in the rural areas of the country. Abdur Rashid Gondal called for imposition of taxes on agriculture and reducing the sales tax to 12 per cent, caustic soda form 20 per cent to five per cent, adding that the common man would have to bear 24 per cent tax against the salary increase of 15 per cent. Humair Hayat Khan Rokhri said that the Federal Bureau of Statistics should be made independent from Ministry of Finance, as international organisations did not rely on its statistics and government should announce NFC Award without any delay. Jamshed Dasti of PPP described the budget as historic amidst financial meltdown in international market that had also hit Pakistan and also lauded BISP. Sardar Bahadur Khan Sehar said that there was only Rs 5 billion allocation for the development projects in southern Punjab against Rs 32 billion for federal capital Islamabad. Mian Javed Latif termed 15 per cent increase in salaries of government employees far less than the inflation rate that had reached to 22 per cent. Engineer Usman Tarkai suggested the government to establish technical education centres across the country, particularly in Swabi. Attiya Inayatullah of PML-Q criticised the finance bill 2009-10 and said it had been prepared by non-elected persons without consulting the parliamentarians. Ayaz Amir of PML-N said that there was no doubt that the country was passing through a dangerous and complicated situation but the government should evolve a strategy to change the challenges into opportunities. He said that financial assistance of $1.5 billion per annum under the Kerry-Lugar Bill was a joke with Pakistan. Imtiaz Safdar Warraich, Minister of State for Communication, said the government had presented a historic budget by allocating record funds for PSDP. He said that the government was committed to revive industrial sector, which would help create more job opportunities and boost business activities in the country. Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja also strongly defended the policies and politics of PPP central command and President Asif Ali Zardari and termed the budget as the best in the existing circumstances. Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada of PML-Q said that he appreciated the vision of Prime Minister Gilani to ensure supremacy of the Parliament and strengthen democratic institutions. He said that Auditor General of Pakistans reports should be brought in the Parliament on regular basis for discussion. He urged the government to allocate more funds for the promotion of agriculture research. PML-N MNA Qudsia Arshad said that the allocations for the Ministries of Health and Education should be increased in the budget 2009-10. Syed Nasir Ali Shah thanked Prime Minister Gilani for seriously taking the Balochistan issue to address the grievances of the locals. He said Prime Minister should send a delegation of politicians including Nawaz Sharif, Asfand Yar Wali, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and others to convince angry Baloch leaders. Imrana Saeed Jamil suggested to increase allocations for education and health sectors, and set up more power plants to revive industry. Nighat Parveen Mir said the budget lacked any measure for women welfare and suggested that government should set up small units for uplift of women and called for withdrawal of tax on SMS. Abdul Wasim appreciated the withdrawal of carbon surcharge, saying the increase in the salaries was contrary to the inflation rate that needed to be reviewed. Akhunzada Chatan criticised the Opposition members for repeatedly stressing for probe into murder of Benazir Bhutto, describing it as internal matter of the party and stressed for positive criticism what, he said, had also prompted withdrawal of carbon surcharge. He praised increase of budget allocation for tribal areas from Rs 8.6 billion to Rs 12.8 billion and requested the government to further raise it to Rs 25.8 billion equal to that allocated for Kashmir and Northern Areas. Chaudhry Nazir Ahmed Jat emphasised for opening technical education institutions at the level of union council to provide professional skills to the youth. Mir Munawar Talpur called for resolution of Kalabagh Dam to bridge demand-supply gap in energy sector. Kashmala Tariq said that the growth rate had declined from above 7 per cent in 2006-07 and 5.8 per cent in 2007-08 to 2 per cent in 2009 and growth of large-scale manufacturing had come down from 18 per cent during the previous tenure to minus 7.7 now a days. She criticised the imposition of Rs 0.2 tax on SMS saying that the government should put this burden on business giants not consumers who were already facing heavy burden of inflation and poverty. Faiz Mohammed Khan said that the country imported tea worth Rs 67 billion annually therefore the government should give special focus on the establishment of tea research centres. Ishrat Ashraf pointed out that the budget lacked any measures for women and the government should allocate special quota for working women and establish hostels for them, besides providing transport facilities. Appreciating the Prime Ministers decision of withdrawing carbon surcharge on CNG, PML-N MNA Baleeghur Rehman said, But we must remember that the government has withdrawn carbon surcharge of only Rs 12 billion from CNG, while Rs 122 billion carbon tax is still there on other petroleum products which is a burden on poor people. Fauzia Habib while talking on the floor condemned the criticism on the foreign tours of President Zardari and said that those visits were the need of the hour and due to this the country was now able to run its operations. Junaid Anwar Chaudhry suggested that the agriculture sector should be given the status of industry so that it could avail itself the benefits given to industrial sector. Mehmood Ayaz Khan Topi said that Opposition criticised the budget without studying the budget properly. Saira Afzal Tarar said that the education was the only solution of the problems faced by the country at the moment. She said that even Bangalis were now much ahead of Pakistanis in the field of education. Beelum Hasnain of PPP said that her party was committed to implementing its manifesto to improve the living standard of the common man and the present budget was reflective of that strategy. Dr Naheed Shahid Ali of MQM said that the country was passing through a difficult time and no war could be won without the support of masses whether it was against terrorism or poverty.