Govt accused of causing Rs700bn loss to economy

ISLAMABAD: The opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has alleged that the country’s economy has suffered a loss of Rs700 billion due to faulty policies of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government.

Speaking at a news conference at the National Press Club here on Thursday, PML-N leaders regretted that the present government had “ruined” the hard work which their party’s government had done in “reviving the country’s economy”.

“Our five-year of hard work has been ruined. We are all sad. The whole nation is sad,” said PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal, who was accompanied by former commerce minister Khurram Dastagir Khan, former health minister Saira Afzal Tarar and PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb.

Mr Iqbal alleged that the present government was taking credit for some of the policies that had been initiated by the PML-N. He said the auto policy had been announced by the government of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif under which a number of agreements had been signed. He said that now when these agreements were being materialised, the government was taking its credit.

PML-N leaders claim PTI has ‘ruined’ hard work their party’s government did in reviving the country’s economy

Similarly, he said, the visa relaxation policy to encourage tourism in the country had been formulated by the PML-N government.

“Under a conspiracy, successes of the PML-N were portrayed as failures for a regime change which has brought the country to the verge of disaster,” he said.

Showing documents, Mr Iqbal said the World Bank had forecast six per cent growth rate in 2019. He further said that the International Monetary Fund in its report presented at the World Economic Forum in Davos had declared Pakistan a “star performer”.

However, he regretted that the present government had brought down the growth rate by 2pc which had now come to less than 4pc, causing a loss of Rs700bn to the country’s economy.

“This inefficient, inexperience, dishonest and vision-less government has crashed the economy which has taken off (during the PML-N regime),” he declared.

The PML-N leader alleged that the government had either stopped or slowed down the pace of work on a number of projects that had been launched by their government. Moreover, he said, some of the completed projects like Lahore-Multan Motorway were awaiting inauguration and the present rulers did not have time even to cut ribbons.

Mr Iqbal said that even the much-trumpeted Kartarpura corridor project had been abandoned and there had been no work on the highway between Kartarpur and Nankana Sahib which was to be built before 2022 when the Sikhs from all over the world were expected to arrive in the country to mark the centenary celebrations. He claimed that due to slash in the development budget some 700,000 people had been rendered jobless.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms Tarar alleged that the PTI had re-launched the health cards scheme that had been launched by the PML-N government. She said the government had used the same expression of interest that had been invited by the PML-N government. Moreover, she claimed that the same five companies had been engaged in the project which had offered bidding during the PML-N regime. She said the government was withdrawing the health cards carrying the pictures of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb responded to the earlier presser of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry in which he had targeted the PML-N leadership, particularly party president Shahbaz Sharif.

Ms Aurangzeb said the “PTI stooges” should ask “their prime minister wanted by NAB” (National Accountability Bureau) to resign before asking for Shahbaz Sharif’s resignation. She said there was a competition among government spokespersons desperate to please their “wanted prime minister”.

She said this behaviour of PTI ministers was understandable, saying that “when one’s performance is a total failure in Parliament and in running the country, such gimmicks are the only distraction”.

Ms Aurangzeb called for the prime minister’s resignation because of being an accused and wanted person in the helicopter case.

“The PML-N demands that both Imran and his ‘benamidar’ sister Aleema be arrested and kept in NAB custody for over 120 days. Once the PTI does that, then maybe they can have some semblance of grounds to demand PML-N president’s resignation,” she said.

Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019

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