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August 23, 2019

PPP white paper on govt’s performance: Govt did U-turns, broke promises, dashed hopes

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August 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party Thursday released its white paper on one-year performance of the government, dubbing it a ‘selected government’s one year of destructive policies, U-turns, broken promises, and dashed hopes’.

“Almost all promises made in the manifesto, in the speeches, or pledges to the people remain unfulfilled. Not only that, PTI is disguising its lies in their characteristic U-turns on every promise ranging from not taking loans, to not going to IMF, to implementing austerity etc,” said Information Secretary of the PPP Parliamentarians Dr Nafisa Shah while addressing a press conference here where she released the white Paper.

In order to silence the people, Dr Nafisa Shah said Imran Khan’s one-year achievement was to gag the media, silence the judges, water-canon citizens daring to protest and persecute the opposition by imprisoning its leaders.

“In fact, that is perhaps the only sinister implementation of his promise - of witch-hunting the political leaders in the name of accountability,” she said.

Dr Nafisa shah said Pakistan’s foreign policy had seen car driving, begging bowl missions, wishes for Modi win, missed calls, but all these had failed to elevate Pakistan’s status in the region or in the world.

“There is growing concern that like General Musharraf, selected Prime Minister Imran Khan may be making sudden U-turns on Pakistan’s foreign policy contours, with Imran Khan’s visit to the US only adding more fodder to these concerns,” she said.

She said while the PPP supported a policy of engagement, peace initiatives in the region especially Afghanistan, it considered that Pakistan’s friendship with its time-tested friends like China must never be compromised.

She said the recent Indian unilateral action on Kashmir had met with an unsatisfactory diplomatic response by the government denting Pakistan’s longstanding and principled position on the issue of Kashmir.

“The PPP has called for an aggressive diplomatic offensive by Pakistan’s Foreign Office to expose Indian atrocities and human rights violations bordering on ethnic cleansing. The government is slow and uncertain,” she said.

She said prices of general and non-food items had dramatically increased during the PTI’s one-year in office and inflation had soared from 5.84 percent to10.83 percent. “The inflation is now in double digits. The prices of all basic commodities like wheat and sugar have risen and in many cases sky-rocketed, forcing people in vicious poverty trap,” she said.

Dr Nafisa Shah said the PTI manifesto promised to make Pakistan fair and equal with their slogan “Do Nahin Ek Pakistan”; however, its policy of giving amnesty to the rich and imposing taxes on the poor and middle classes had delivered the exact opposite of the promise.

“The pain of the 6bn dollar IMF program has been mostly placed on the poor, and on the other hand a Rs20 billion fund has been injected into the stock market to protect the billions of billionaires from any volatility,” she said.

She said in its manifesto, the PTI promised a 10-point plan to revitalize economy, including jobs, houses, reenergizing industry and small enterprises, and putting on track the PSEs. “One year and three finance bills later, the economy is suffering from uncertainty and volatility and not a single policy of economic revival has seen realization,” she said.

On the contrary, she said there was no plan and the government had unleashed a reign of terrifying inflation on the people by slapping price hikes of essential utilities upon them. “The economic mismanagement is a story of absolute Tabahi from poor economic growth and missed targets, to devaluation of the rupee and loss of stock market value, and the ever-increasing price of oil and utilities like electricity and gas,” she said.

She said the primary agenda of the 2018 PTI manifesto vowed to ‘transform governance’ and ‘bring accountability to the core of the government’.

“Almost every target — tax collection, growth, exports — were missed when they presented their 3rd finance bill this year. In the outgoing fiscal year 2018-19, a massive Rs495 billion shortfall in total revenues was recorded where targets were missed on all budgeted revenue heads except customs duty and FED. Yet, without a reform plan, the government has set an ambitious revenue target of a 32 percent year-on-year increase when the actual collection in the outgoing fiscal year is 10 percent less than the actual budget targets.”

She said when the PTI government took power, oil prices were Rs 95 per liter and today they were nearly 117 rupees per liter which was about 24 per cent increase. Ironically, the international oil prices have gone down by 10 per cent.

Dr Nafisa Shah said under the garb of accountability, the government was making an absolute mockery of the growing democracy in Pakistan and targeting its political rivals and presenting itself as a classic/de facto martial law regime.

“Two former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, are in jail and one former president Asif Ali Zardari is in jail. In fact, the accountability process will clearly appear questionable if its radar is unable to catch Peshawar BRT and other projects,” she said.

Nafisa Shah said PTI government promised a transformative Karachi package, made an announcement of 165billion rupees but so far no practical work was seen on the ground. “The only work visible is picking up garbage and dumping it in a cricket ground and gross publicity stunts by ‘Fix It’ vigilantes. Federal commitments on K4, S3, or the Greenline Project are still to be realized as federal government held back the funds it promised to Karachi,” she said.

Dr Nafisa Shah said the past one year had witnessed more than 600 per cent increase in gas prices, and more than 30 per cent increase in electricity bills which has broken the back of the poor and the middle classes in Pakistan.

She said the media watchdogs and independent journalism forums are terming PTI government as a fascist regime hiding behind censorship.

”Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently warned of disturbing dictatorial tendencies after three Pakistani TV stations were briefly taken off air in what it called brazen censorship,” she said.

She said the Committee to Protect Journalists last year warned that the government had “quietly, but effectively, set restrictions on reporting.

“Free speech has been suppressed, TV channels pulled off air without due process, newspapers pressurised to ban columnists and baseless treason cases filed to silence the media,” she said.

She said the PTI professed that it was a movement for justice more than anything else yet after one year the system of justice had become controversial as a result of one-sided accountability, random arrests and failure for the judiciary to protect fundamental rights of the citizens.

She said a controversial and ad hoc reference filed against Justice Faiz Isa and Justice Agha seemed to be a strike at the independence of judiciary, creating disturbance in the legal community.

“It is a common knowledge that Justice Faiz Isa would be the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and fearing his independence, the selected prime minister seems to have taken a preemptive step,” she said. Dr Nafisa Shah said bar councils had condemned and rejected this reference calling it an attack on the independence of the judiciary.