ISLAMABAD: On Wednesday, Opposition lawmakers staged a strong protest in the National assembly against the government’s bid to legislate on the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill and the Tax Laws (Fourth) Amendment Bill. The federal cabinet on Tuesday approved the SBP bill, which has proposed to curtail the government’s borrowing from the central bank, while the tax bill has been deferred. PML-N leader Khawaja Asif, speaking during the NA session, asked the government to be empathetic and not legislate on the bills as they would have adverse effects on the country’s economy. “The [government] is planning on surrendering the country’s financial autonomy through mini-budget and the state bank bill. I plead with you not to surrender the country’s financial sovereignty,” the lawmaker told the treasury benches. For his part, PPP leader and former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf asked the Opposition benches to join hands and stop the government from legislating on the bills. “I’ve heard that someone is planning on tabling a mini-budget. This will increase the woes of the people who are already under pressure due to rising inflation, unemployment, and gas crisis,” he said. Responding to the Opposition lawmakers, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said it was crucial to analyse the factors behind Pakistan’s economic woes. As FM Qureshi addressed the Lower House of the Parliament, the Opposition lawmakers pointed out that the quorum was incomplete. However, after Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri counted the members, and they were enough to continue the session. Moving on with his speech, the foreign minister assured the house that the government was responsible for the country’s economic sovereignty — and it would take necessary steps for it. Meanwhile, Minister for Interior Sheikh Rasheed said whether the mini-budget is tabled in the Parliament on January 12 or 15, there would be no dire consequences — it will sail smoothly.