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June 24, 2019

Calling Imran ‘selected PM’ banned in NA

Top Story

June 24, 2019

ISLAMABAD: National Assembly (NA) Deputy Speaker Qasim Khan Suri on Sunday banned the members from calling Imran Khan “selected Prime Minister” in the House.

On a point of order, Federal Minister Omar Ayub Khan said he wanted to move privilege motion to stop the use of word “selected Prime Minister” for Imran Khan. “Calling Prime Minister Imran ‘selected’ is breach of our privilege and privilege of the House,” the minister said.

The Deputy Speaker said every member of the House had been elected; therefore, the word ‘selected’ would not be used for any parliamentarian from now on. Meanwhile, former minister for planning and development and PML-N Secretary General Chaudhry Ahsan Iqbal, kicking off debate on the federal budget in the NA, said the government prepared the budget only to please the IMF and get its programme. “It seems that the present budget has no other agenda but to please the IMF, meet conditions to get its programme of six billion dollars loan,” the PML-N leader said, adding the budget had brought mere disappointment for the poor masses.

Ahsan Iqbal said the federal budget did not contain any ingredients which are required to increase the economic growth rate, create job employments and social investments in sectors like education and health. “The government wants to get the budget passed at all costs to get six billion dollars loan from the IMF,” he said.

Iqbal went on to say that the PTI government would have to be answerable for its poor performance instead of making hue and cry and putting all the blames to inherited economy and levelling allegations of corruption. “Not being able to meet revenue targets of Rs400 billion and failing to control current expenditures is not failure of the last PML-N government but it is failure of the PTI government,” he said.

The veteran politician said the government staged drama of austerity, auctioned buffaloes and vehicles but did not control its current expenditures resulting in record deficit in the history of the countryand now they are compelled to get external and domestic loans.

He said it was true that the PML-N government obtained Rs10,600 billion loans but it was also a fact that from 2013 to 2018, then government used the money on generation of around 12,000 megawatts of electricity, roads and motorways infrastructure across the country. “But I want to ask a question as to where this present government spent over Rs5,000 billion loans taken in the last 10 months,” he said.

He said the PTI leaders should understand that now they are sitting on the treasury and were not standing in the D Chowk. “There is much difference in attitude while sitting on the treasury benches and agitating while standing on the D Chowk’s container,” he said.

He said the parliamentarians sitting on the treasury benches have a heavy responsibility of tolerating the criticism instead of demonstrating their same old behavior. He said no foreign investors would opt for making investment in Pakistan when its prime minister would introduce his country as the most corrupt, money launderer and bankrupt nation in the community of world. “We have left a prosperous Pakistan with the best stock market in Asia and strong currency but now the growth rate has come down to around 3 percent, has the worst currency and stock exchange in Asia,” he said.

He recalled that when the PML-N took over in the year 2013, it did not get economy in a good shape but bolstered up the situation and gave the country Vision 2025 and prepared a national roadmap with consultation of the business community and political leadership.

Former prime minister and PPP Parliamentarians’ Raja Pervaiz Ashraf asked the government to take the country forward instead blaming the past governments for failure of its economic policies. Saying none of governments in Pakistan would say that they took over reigns of the country in conducive environments. “Our government also took over in difficult period but gave jobs to thousands of jobless people and also increased salaries of by over 100 percent,” he said. He pointed out that average deficit during the PPP tenure was 2.5 billion dollars which now had surged to over 22 billion dollars. “But still the PTI government is blaming the past governments for its failures,” he said.

He said every government was taking credit of CPEC but it was then President Asif Zardari who undertook frequent visits of China and talked about Gwadar so that mega CPEC project could be kicked off. “We never made tall claims because we knew that there are many enemies of the country,” he said. He observed that the government and NAB could continue accountability but should not harass the business community. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf urged the government to take the business community onboard to enhance their confidence over economic policies adding democracy is the only way to put the country on the path of development, progress, and prosperity. He said political opponents should not be humiliated in the name of criticism to maintain harmony in the parliament.

Minister for Planning Khusro Bukhtiyar said tax to GDP ratio is 11 percent, which will be enhanced to 12.6 percent as no economy can function without having sufficient revenue collection. He said the government has set an ambitious revenue collection target of over 5,500 billion rupees, enabling the government to provide 35 percent more funds to provinces.

He said Sindh alone will get Rs200 billion more funds if the revenue target is achieved. He said in the first year of the government, focus will be on economic stabilisation with a growth rate of four percent to be enhanced to six percent in the last year with an average of five percent. The minister said private investment will be taken to 18 percent from the existing 15 percent. He said 10 million jobs will be created in five-year term of the PTI government.

Khusro Bakhtiyar said 80 billion rupees has been allocated to improve power transmission system, 43 billion rupees for higher education and knowledge economy, and 13 billion for agriculture sector.

Shahida Akhtar Ali of MMA terming the budget as anti-poor urged the government to reduce the burden of multiple taxes on people. Tashfeen Sadfar of PTI terming the budget balanced, said government wants to uplift the deprived sector of society. Rashid Ahmed Khan of PML-N said subsidy should be provided to the farmers on fertilizers and pesticides. He said PML-N in its tenure added 12,000 megawatts of electricity to the national grid.

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