JI rejects budget as document of IMF slavery

By Our Correspondent
June 13, 2024
Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman addressing a press conference at Mansoorah on June 12, 2024.— Facebook/HafizNaeemRehman

LAHORE: Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has rejected the budget as a document of IMF slavery.

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Addressing a press conference at Mansoorah on Wednesday, he said the Finance minister’s admission of failing to meet the economic targets for the financial year 2023-24 was evidence of the government’s inability to manage the economy effectively. Referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s statements following the PDM’s rise to power in 2022, he said the current administration, PDM-II, also appeared to be aimlessly floundering without the capability to set the country on the right path. Shehbaz had claimed that the PMLN, a component of the former PDM government, sacrificed its political interests to save the economy and Pakistan. Naeem criticized this, asserting: “You and your allies came to power through rigging and failed to provide relief to people.” He accused the government of granting the IMF full authority for direct interference in national institutions. If the previous 23 programs had not yielded any positive results, the prospects for the 24th were equally bleak, he said and argued that the FBR could not take credit for the increase in tax revenue, which he attributed to heavy taxation on the salaried class and direct taxes in the form of electricity and gas bills, as well as the petroleum levy. Powerful capitalists and feudal lords, he noted, did not pay taxes, leaving the government to burden the poor. He called for an inclusive tax system and abolition of the interest-based economy. Linking high electricity costs to unfair agreements with Independent Power Producers (IPPs), he urged a review of these contracts. He criticized the government’s minimal budget allocation for education, highlighting it as a low priority for the rulers, and called for a focus on IT to boost national income. He credited small farmers for the growth in the agricultural sector but lamented that the government had now begun targeting these growers. He also condemned the PPP, accusing it of playing both sides by cooperating with the government while pretending to be in opposition. He claimed that the PPP, the PMLN and the MQM lacked a genuine mandate and called for a judicial inquiry into election rigging. In response to a question, he criticized PMLN President Nawaz Sharif for extending goodwill to Modi, accusing him of seeking friendship with the “butcher of Gujarat” and the perpetrators of violence against Muslims in India and Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. To another question, he expressed disappointment over the national cricket team’s performance in the T20 World Cup and demanded merit-based team selection. He concluded by stating that incapable rulers ruined every sector.

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