Saturday March 25, 2023

PTI MPs being asked to change loyalty: Asad Umar

By News Desk
January 28, 2023

ISLAMABAD: In his new rhetoric against the establishment, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) General Secretary Asad Umar said Friday “no sign of neutrality is seen in the country”.

Addressing a joint press conference flanked by former finance minister Shaukat Tarin, Umar said that efforts were underway to force PTI lawmakers to defect against their will and switch their loyalties.

“Our MNAs and MPAs informed us that they are being contacted. They are told that their future is not with the PTI,” he claimed.

Turning his guns towards the PDM coalition government, the PTI senior leader said that the nation witnessed a tsunami of inflation during the past nine months. “Inflation is at a historic high level today,” he added.

“You have pushed [the country’s] economy down into a ravine. The country’s foreign exchange reserves sink to three weeks’ [worth of import cover].”

Referring to the prevailing economic crisis being faced by the county, the former finance minister said that it has become a matter of national security rather than an economic issue. “Who is responsible for it? Who will be accountable to the nation?”

The country was brought to this stage via the regime change operation, the PTI leader said, adding that the current crisis arose because “you have created a distortion in the democratic process” which was operating smoothly.

An elected prime minister with 156 seats was sent packing and an unelected government was brought in, Umar said while analysing the prevailing economic crisis.

Responding to a question about elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he warned that Article 6 of the Constitution would be applicable “if polls are not held within 90 days”.

The incumbent government is deviating from the Constitution by not announcing a schedule for the elections in the provinces, he added.

The PTI leader further said that they had filed a petition in the Lahore High Court. Another application has been filed in the apex court regarding the appointment of caretaker chief minister in Punjab, he added.

“The entire nation is looking to the courts,” he added.

To another question, the former financial czar said that the circular debt further went up due to the devaluation of the local unit. “They [coalition government] will have to announce general elections in the country in this situation.”

On his part, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said that the country’s debt rose by Rs4.5 trillion during the past two days due to the rupee’s nosedive. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is stressing the government to impose new taxes worth Rs3.2 trillion, he added

“The masses will have to bear the heavy burden in connection with the proposed deal with the IMF,” he warned. “Prices of petrol and diesel will also shoot up.”

Tarin added: “Circular debt is increasing by Rs123 billion per month,”

Due to the debt, the ex-financial czar said, the government would have to hike electricity prices. “A tsunami of inflation is looming over the country.”

“Miftah and Dar lied to the nation,” Tarin said and estimated that the country’s economic growth rate would be negative during the current fiscal year.