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Importing commodities from India: Govt has taken historic U-turn, say PML-N, JI

Top Story

April 1, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that the federal government had taken a historic U-turn in allowing the import of cotton, sugar and yarn from India.

In a Tweet on Wednesday, he raised many questions after the Economic Coordination Committee approved import of the commodities. He asked whether (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi was not Hitler anymore? Whether Modi had vacated the illegal seizure of Kashmir? Whether cruelty and barbarism had stopped in Kashmir? Kashmir had been sold for delaying of one billion payment?

The PML-N leader asked the Imran Khan government to be ashamed of it (Kuch Sharam Karo, Haya Karo). Meanwhile, addressing a press conference here, the PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said the government had now bargained on the Kashmir issue for the sake of one billion dollars rollover and following diplomacy by a friendly country, the core dispute has been on the backburner. “Imran Khan who used to give lectures on Indian troops brutalities in Kashmir, his government has expedited work on import of cotton, sugar and other commodities from India,” he said. He also questioned whether the Indian government had withdrawn annexation of Kashmir by revoking Article 370A of their Constitution or if it has given any exemptions enabling Pakistan to soften its attitude towards the neighbouring country.

He allsged that the government had brought the country to a ‘sellout’ stage. “Due to the PTI policies, the national interests are now for sale,” the PML-N leader said. He said that by giving autonomy to the State Bank through an ordinance, the government had made another compromise on country economic interests allowing the IMF to implement the Constitution as now it would decide whether the money bills would be brought through ordinance or should be placed before the National Assembly.

Ahsan Iqbal said imposition of new taxes or giving any exemptions in taxes is money bill which can originate only in the National Assembly. “The government has imposed Rs 700 billion taxes through an ordinance and placed State Bank of Pakistan under IMF though another ordinance for the sake of 500 million dollars loan,” he said. “If we want to save the country, the only way is to get rid of incompetent government and move towards fresh elections,” he said.

He said the government was also going to turn Diamir-Bhasha Dam and Mohmand Dam as white elephant like Neelum-Jhelum project as neither it has announced their financial closure nor paid Rs 240 billion as equity to Wapda till date. This government is becoming a threat to the country by playing havoc with country’s mega projects like Diamir-Bhasha Dam and CPEC project and giving State Bank of Pakistan under control of IMF. “If the state of affairs continues in this way, the political party winning 2023 general elections will prefer to sit on the opposition benches and will not be able to take load of failures of this government,” he said.

He told newsmen that the PML-N might also opt for creating an electoral alliance which is pro people, pro constitution and which stands for respect of vote and human rights. “We will continue struggle with those parties which wanted to go along as per charter of the PDM of September 20, last year. However, he told a questioner that it was the decision of the PPP leadership to make alliance with ANP, BAP and Jamaat-e-Islami.

Calling the PTI government as anti CPEC project, he said the PML-N government should have attracted 100 billion dollars investment through this project had it not been removed through rigging. “Rather anti CPEC government was installed and an economic crisis and political instability was created,” Ahsan Iqbal said. He said taking advantage of the situation, Pakistan’s two friendly countries like China and Iran have started work on a similar project which would attract 400 billion dollars. He said only achievement made during this period was creation of CPEC Authority which has not developed even a single economic zone.

The PML-N said now the World Bank has declared Pakistan at par with Afghanistan as its vaccination programme only covers 0.1 percent population. He said Pakistan government had not spent even a single dollar on procuring Covid-19 vaccine. The government which could not provide even vaccination, has no right to collect taxes from masses.

Talking about economic situation, he said the incumbent government was paying more in debt servicing because it had doubled the policy rate. “According to World Bank, the debt to GDP ratio has also increased from 74 percent to 94 percent,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jamaat Islami ameer Sirajul Haq has warned that opening bilateral trade with India was not only amount to rubbing salt on the wounds of Kashmiri Muslims but also the biggest U-turn of the century, saying Imran Khan government had unequivocally stated that no talks and trade with Delhi till the restoration of Articles 35(A) and 370 of Indian constitution.

“220 million Pakistanis stand united with Kashmiris and no talks and trade could be held with Delhi till the last Indian soldier was in Kashmir,” he said while addressing a meeting with the delegation of Jamaat-e-Islami Kisan wing headed by its president Shaukat Ali Chaddhar on Wednesday.

Sirajul Haq said due to the cruel policies of PTI government, the agriculture sector was on a steady decline for the last three years as government raised the input costs besides not providing facilities to growers to purchase their produce. He warned the rulers never to forget that agriculture sector was the foundation of industries and its decline would bring decline in every sphere of the country’s economy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former interior minister Senator Abdul Rehman Malik resented the government's decision to import sugar from India while announcing that he will not be using sugar in any form for the next two months in protest and urged all Pakistanis, particularly politicians to boycott sugar consumption for two months.

“It is highly worrying and pathetic that being an agricultural country, we have been forced to import sugar from India to energize our enemy with foreign exchange through our hard-earned foreign exchange,” he said.

Rehman Malik said, “We are borrowing dollars and will be giving to India against goods.” He questioned, “Why, as a nation, we cannot totally stop sugar for two months as a favour to our country and heaven is not going to fall if sugar is not consumed being not matter of life and death for us all.”