Wed May 23, 2018
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

Top Story

August 12, 2017



People have rejected Nawaz’s victim card: Imran

People have rejected Nawaz’s victim card: Imran

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claimed on Friday that the people had rejected ex-PM Nawaz Sharif’s ‘victim card’ by not showing up in the GT Road rally.

Imran, during a meeting with senior leadership of his party, condemned the ex-PM’s remarks about the judiciary and said that Nawaz had started a confrontation with the SC judges over his disqualification in the Panama case.

He maintained, “PTI stands with the judiciary and people have showed up in dwindling numbers in the PML-N rally showing they had rejected Nawaz Sharif’s victim card. The people have come to know that the Sharif family is corrupt and tells lies”.

Imran pointed out that Nawaz was unable to produce any evidence before the apex court and failed to prove his
innocence. “Now you’ll become a culprit from suspect after the charge sheet has been framed,” he said, addressing Nawaz.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, PTI Vice-Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi objected to the para five and six of the ECP notification, issued on August 1 with regard to the by-election in NA-120. He contended that being an opposition member, he neither had the resources nor government powers, therefore, the ban on visit of MNAs and MPAs to the constituency should be lifted.

Meanwhile, senior PTI leader and MNA Asad Umar alleged that Nawaz Sharif was going around trying to build a narrative to rescue his sinking political ship these days. “An important element of the narrative is that Pakistan has progressed tremendously under his lead in the last four years. This narrative is attempted to be built around elimination of loadshedding, building up of foreign exchange reserves and investment driven growth,” he noted.

He said the reality of these claims was exposed by news released in the last 24 hours. On the one hand, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) issued its weekly foreign exchange reserves data which showed a further $300 million decline in the SBP reserves. This brought the decline in SBP reserves in the last four weeks to $1.8 billion and the cumulative decline in the last nine months since the IMF programme ended was $4.5 billion. “Collapsing exports, galloping imports and stagnant remittances and foreign investment are causing this rapid decline in reserves despite heavy external borrowing resulting in record build-up of external debt,” he said.

According to him, a particularly disturbing feature of the foreign borrowing in the last one year is increasing reliance on short-term borrowing from commercial banks.

“The rapidly worsening external account is now ringing alarm bells in corridors of international financial institutions also. According to newspaper reports, the World Bank has refused to lend for budgetary and balance of payments support due to deteriorating macro-economic conditions. The consensus amongst independent economists is that Pakistan is heading towards another bailout package after the next general elections,” he said.

Asad said that the worst part was that the consequences of the disastrously flawed economic policy were visible to anyone who understood the economy and the rapid deterioration of the external account was no surprise at all. By destroying the competitiveness of the Pakistan economy, the government had directly contributed to the exploding trade deficit and was sinking Pakistan into a debt trap which would be extremely costly for the whole country in general but the most vulnerable segments of society in particular.

The other big achievement being touted is additional power generation capacity. You can even say that is the flagship of economic policy of Nawaz Sharif government. After spending billions on advertisements and cutting innumerable ribbons, the reality as reported in the newspapers today is that the shortfall of electricity exceeded 8,000MW. So after making pre-election promises of eliminating loadshedding in six months, the reality is that after more than four years in power the country is still facing massive loadshedding. The core problems of the sector remain unresolved even after four years, he said.

In its first month in power, the government paid out Rs480 billion of circular debt as the massive outstanding amounts were choking the energy system and causing a serious disruption. “We were told that never again would the country face the menace of circular debt. The reality is that as the newspapers reported today, circular debt has again crossed Rs400 billion. This, despite the fact, the government has collected hundreds of billions of rupees in the last three years by imposing multiple surcharges on the electricity tariff. So on the one hand, these surcharges had played a critical role in destroying the competitiveness of our industry and resulting in exploding trade deficit, and on the other the government was still unable to control the menace of circular debt.

Asad said that it was urgently required that the government, instead of being in denial and trying to claim economic turnaround, should make amends and make changes to its failed economic policies. The single most urgent issue was to restore the competitiveness of Pakistan’s economy and in particular the export sector. To achieve this, he stated, the heavy taxation on input costs needed to be reduced, government must stop holding back refunds to show artificially low fiscal deficits, attempts to artificially control exchange rate through administrative measures must not be resorted to and strong arming trade and industry to extort taxation from the formal sector must be immediately stopped.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan sent a show cause notice to renegade party member Ayesha Gulalai and asked her to explain about leaving the party and why she voted against the party policy during the prime ministerial election. She was asked to reply the letter within seven days.




In This Story