ISLAMABAD: Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar Friday gave a challenge to PTI Chairman Imran Khan to hold a live debate to ascertain who destroyed Pakistan’s economy.
He said that the IMF was dictating economic policies now and Imran Khan was responsible for it, because he committed mistakes in running the economy.
In a televised sentimental speech, Ishaq Dar severely criticised the policies of Imran Khan-led government and stated that his government struck a deal with the Fund to provide it with a chance to dictate Pakistan on the economy.
He said that the net GDP size went up by $26 billion during the tenure of PTI-led government, while it had increased by $112 billion during the last tenure of PMLN from 2013 to 2018.
He said PTI Chairman Khan claimed that they provided 5.5 million jobs in his tenure, but the Labour Force Survey (LFS) indicated that he was telling lies, as only 3.2 million jobs were created. He said that Imran Khan should extend an apology to the nation because he and his cronies were responsible for all mess that surfaced today on the economic front. He said that he allowed a free exchange rate resulting in a hike in price hike manifold.
He said that Imran Khan used to blame the PMLN for the increased current account deficit (CAD) that had touched $19.2 billion in the last fiscal year of the Muslim League government in 2018. However, Imran Khan did not finance any war against terrorism for improving security and did not overcome loadshedding of 18 hours every day so the CAD went up. But Imran Khan left the CAD to the tune of $17.4 billion. He said that the exports went up from $25 billion to $31 billion during the tenure of Imran Khan mainly because he doled out a package of Rs400 billion for refurbishment of machinery at the lowest markup. He said that the imports also increased and stood at $77 billion under the Imran Khan government while it stood at $55 billion during the PMLN tenure.
The total public debt and liabilities increased from Rs30 trillion to Rs55 trillion during Imran’s tenure and reminded him of his claim that he would reduce the public debt and liabilities by Rs10 trillion.
The policy rate, he said, stood at 5.5 per cent under the Nawaz Sharif government and increased to 6.5 per cent under Shahid Khaqan Abbasi led government in 2017-18; however, Imran Khan hiked the policy rate to 13.75 per cent. The debt servicing requirement stood at Rs1700 billion during the PMLN-led government, which now had increased to Rs5000 billion.
“Imran Khan’s tenure destroyed every economic indicator,” he alleged and added that the wrong deal with the IMF was now creating difficulties for the incumbent government.
He said that the circular debt increased from Rs503 billion to Rs1,148 billion during the tenure of PMLN from 2013-2018, but under the Imran Khan rule, it went up to Rs2467 billion till March 2022.
News desk adds: Asserting the government was firing on all cylinders to salvage the country’s economy, Ishaq Dar said Pakistan is the only country founded in the name of Islam and Allah Almighty is guarantor for its development and prosperity. He said he had full faith that Pakistan would progress because it was created in the name of Islam. “If Allah can create Pakistan then He can also protect, develop, and make it prosperous,” Dar added.
The finance minister said, “they are trying their best to improve Pakistan’s condition under Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s leadership”.
He said the country was still suffering due to the “drama” that started five years ago and insisted that the economy was strengthening during Nawaz’s tenure from 2013-2017.
The finance minister added that Pakistan Stock Exchange was the best-performing capital market in South Asia and ranked fifth in the world during Nawaz’s era and the sights of the world institutions were set on it.
Dar maintained that today Pakistan was paying the price for the “Panama drama”, the ouster of the PMLN government, and similar issues it faced over the last five years. “Pakistan was on the growth track during Nawaz’s tenure, but it was derailed,” he added.
“People can see the destruction the country suffered in the last five years, and they know who has delivered in the past,” Dar added.
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