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February 14, 2020

Opposition parties in NA demand fresh general elections

National

February 14, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties on floor of the National Assembly on Thursday demanded fresh general elections in the country observing the incumbent government did not possess the ability to resolve crisis being faced by the masses.

“We need fresh, independent and transparent general elections as this government has no solution to inflation, price hike and devastated economy,” the PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal while taking part in discussion on country’s economic condition said.

The JUI-F parliamentary leader Asad Mahmood supported demand of the senior parliamentarian saying the government should resign and fresh general elections be announced. Ahsan Iqbal said that the government negotiated with the IMF with weak position, it compromised on country’s sovereignty and interests of 220 million people which resulted in price hike and high inflation.

Referring to statements of the Prime Minister that the government and Pakistan Army were on the same page, he said they are maligning institutions as the armed forces neither asked for price hike and inflation in the country.

Unlike first two days of the debate, it was comparatively calm day on Thursday. However, the former Prime Minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf demanded of the Deputy Speaker to ask the Minister for Power, Omar Ayub to apologise on floor of the House for his Wednesday’s unparliamentary remarks against the PPP leadership.

Earlier, the Speaker Asad Qaiser warned members from both sides of strict action under rules if they indulge in indecent language and personal attacks in the House. “Such an attitude which was demonstrated in the last two days, is not tolerable,” he said.

He said in case of use of unparliamentary language, he would order to switch off mike of the member and would also take action as per rules against him.

Ahsan Iqbal while taking part in discussion said the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan while accepting inflation and price hike at her press conference said the government was trying to make arrangements to cope with the problem. “The incumbent government with its indecision, incompetence, inexperience and indifference has brought people to this stage in the last 18 months,” he said.

Ahsan Iqbal observed what people were suffering with the man-made crisis which was created due to indifference to masses’ problems and the same could have been averted. “We are facing high inflation and low growth,” he said.

He said the PML-N while discussing budget proposal last years had warned the government that budgetary proposals would result in high inflation and unemployment. “Today there is record low growth, record poverty, record inflation and record unemployment,” Ahsan Iqbal said.

The former Minister for Planning regretted that the Adviser on Finance after 18th months of the government was still clueless to the problems and what were their solutions. “The fact is that the shame and scam government is looting people through mafias of flour and sugar,” he said adding the government was not interested to address the issues.

He said the Adviser on Finance in his speech said the people coming from IMF should be respected saying the parliamentarians are voted to the Parliament and they could express problems of masses better than economic experts. “This is insult of parliamentarians that they are called illiterate and that they could not criticise IMF people,” he said.

The PML-N leader while referring to the speech of Adviser on Finance said he also wanted to live in Pakistan where currently there is no inflation and price hike. He said the PTI government had shattered confidence of investors and the sentiments which were created by the CPEC project. “As a result of prevailing situation and victimization, the investment is escaping from the country,” he said adding the World Bank in its report had pinpointed confidence crisis in the country. He said that doubling the policy rate and record devaluation of Pakistan’s currency also resulted in the crashing down of national economy.

Referring to speech of the Minister for Power, he said the House was not talking about history and as to what happened in the past rather the government should tell its performance.

Asad Mahmood while taking part in discussion commenting on speech of the Adviser on Finance said it was speech of the IMF representative and not of the Adviser. “The government has appointed you not to praise IMF and narrate its qualities,” Asad Mahmood said.

The JUI-F parliamentarian said the government had appointed the same person as governor of State Bank of Pakistan who as an official of IMF played havoc with Egypt’s economy. He said that there was difference in collecting charity money and running affairs of the country. “We need to reduced tariffs of gas and electricity, restore exemptions for exports, reduce policy rate and give incentives to the agriculture sector”.

He alleged that the PTI government in its first days attacked the CPEC and attempted to stop the mega project practically. Minister for Food Security and Research in his speech stressed that the government and opposition would have to be on one page on issues of economy while living above political differences.

Minister for Food Security and Research, Khusro Bakhtiar stressed that the government and the opposition while living above political differences would have to be on one page on economic issues. He suggested special finance committee of the House to give a 10-year economic policy, point out problems and resources and suggest future roadmap for solution. He pointed out that the PTI government approached the IMF when there was high inflation rate and depleted foreign exchange reserves in the country.

Former Prime Minister Raja Parvaiz Ashraf said the ministers in their speeches instead of giving details of government’s performance have been blaming the past government for the current economic crisis. He pointed out that the minister could not deny statistics of the Federal Bureau Statistics, FBR and State Bank on condition of economy, inflation and shortfall in revenue collection.

He advised the government that inflation and price hike could not be controlled by opening new outlets of Utility Stores rather it needed concrete and serious efforts. He regretted that the government was still not ready to learn from its mistakes observing that both the rulers and the opposition should stop petty politics and try to resolve real issues being faced by the people.

Raja Parvaiz Ashraf alleged that the Minister for Food Security who was talking about flour and sugar crisis was also responsible for creating the problem.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly unanimously passed a resolution expressing solidarity with the government and people of China for dedicated efforts and efficient policy to combat coronavirus. The resolution was moved by PML-N leader Khawaja Asif.

The National Assembly was informed on Thursday that the government has launched “Zindagi” App to create awareness amongst youth with regard to the hazardous effects of synthetic drug penetration.

Responding to a question, Minister of State for States and Frontier Regions Shehryar Afridi said interactive sessions are also being arranged with all the schools and educational institutions regarding Zindagi App. He said the youth is responsible for ensuring bright future of the country; therefore, parents and teachers will have to educate the youth about dangerous effects of drugs in their lives.

Speaking on this issue, Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood acknowledged the role of seminaries in educating the youth.

Responding to a question, the Education Minister said a plan worth 800 million rupees is being prepared for revamping institutions. He said the ministry is also considering announcing four hundred posts of drivers and conductors for school buses in Islamabad.

Responding to a question, Minister of State for Climate Change Zartaj Gul informed the House that five out of 64 brick kilns have now been converted into environment friendly policy zigzag technology. She said all the owners of brick kilns who have not yet installed pollution control technology have agreed to convert their kilns to environment friendly zigzag technology by the end of this year. She said five brick kilns have been sealed in Islamabad, which were operating without installation of pollution control technology.

Parliamentary Secretary for Aviation Division Jamil Ahmed Khan informed the House during the question hour that PIA has minimized the number of flights to reduce its losses.

He said, under the Prime Minister’s vision of no VIP culture and protocol, there is no fixed quota of seats for the Parliamentarians in PIA flights. He, however, said PIA accords priority to Parliamentarians.