Country’s security under threat if economic crisis continues: Shehbaz Sharif

The Nation  |  Dec 05, 2021

LAHORE  - PML-N President and National Assembly Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has said that claims of the PTI government being honest and transparent was the biggest lie in the history of the country. 

Addressing a Press conference in Lahore, Shehbaz said the PTI government was the most incompetent, corrupt, laid-back and inexperienced government in Pakistan’s history.

The entire nation was suffering miserably because a selected, illegal government was formed as a result of rigged elections, he said. Shehbaz  condemned the incident in Sialkot. 

PTI exploited religious issues for political gains whereas PMLN did not politically exploit this incident, he said. He said that Pakistan enjoys good diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka and hoped that the culprits of this horrific incident would be punished according to law. 

Church leaders say grieved by Sri Lankan national’s lynching, demand justice He said countries that repeat blunders lose their sovereignty and when they face economic disasters, it is virtually impossible to save them.  He quoted the examples of Middle East and Soviet Union, where even their military might couldn’t save them when their economy collapsed.  He warned that if Pakistan did not address the economic crisis it currently faces, it could jeopardize the country’s security. Shehbaz said that economic blunders committed by PTI government over the past 3 years had shaken the very foundations of Pakistan.  Inflation, unemployment were threatening the very existence of Pakistan, he added.

Claims of PTI govt being honest biggest lie of history

He said that covid-19 started in March 2020 and there was no doubt that the entire world was facing an increase in inflation, but Pakistan was right now ranked 3rd in the world and 1st in South Asia as the country with the highest inflation rate. 

How to be a star content creator Pakistan and Pakistanis were facing the most devastating economic condition in the history of the country., he added.

He said the joint opposition warned repeatedly that the government must focus on the situation of the average Pakistani instead of rich corporations amid these troubled times, but they completely ignored it. He said it was extremely difficult to discuss these crucial issues with the PTI government because they resorted to foul language. He reminded that when PML-N government left in 2018 the total loans taken were Rs 3,000 billion while inflation was 3-4 per cent.  Right now, he said, the conditions by the IMF had choked the entire nation.  India hadn’t asked IMF for help since 1991, whereas Pakistan had done numerous times, he stated. He said he wasn’t looking to lecture anyone and admitted that all government were guilty of playing their part in economic deterioration of the country over the past 74 years.

FM Qureshi strongly condemns Sialkot incident However, he said if the PTI government is compared with Nawaz Sharif’s government, there was a wide difference.

Nawaz left the country with 5.8 GDP growth rate while the PTI govt after 3 years had managed 3.5 percent, he added.

He said the population growth alone was 2.5 per cent which meant that 3.5 per cent GDP growth was barely enough to even meet the population growth percentage.  He said PM Imran Khan had pledged from the top of the container that he would reduce the national debt by Rs 10,000 billion. 

However, in 3 years this PTI government had almost doubled national debt accumulated over the past 71 years.  He pointed out that in 2018 the total debt was around Rs 30,000 billion but PTI added Rs 20,000 billion to this debt. He said the record bears witness that during its tenure from 2013 to 2018, PMLN not only reduced total debt by returning loans but also invested in the development and progress of the nation under the leadership of Nawaz SHarif.   He reminded that PML-N generated over 10,000 megawatts ekectricity.  These were not all CPEC funded projects but Pakistan financed power projects worth billions of dollars to set up gas powered electricity generation which were most efficient and most competitive vis-à-vis pricing.  He said PML-N’s performance in the health and education sector was also a milestone for any government to follow and the projects on the ground were a proof of that. 

Time bombs planted in society will continue to explode if not defused: Fawad The PML=N government invested in transport infrastructure he said.  Had the PML-N government set up these mass transport projects with zero emissions, imagine what would have been the state of affairs both traffic-wise with respect to the air pollution. On the other hand the so-called billion tree tsunami turned out to be a massive fraud, he said. 

Shehbaz said State Bank’s figures reject PTI’s claims that they had paid off debt. 

He said the best they might have done was that they could have rolled this debt over because the net payments were the same.  The entire country was suffering because of the economic destruction caused by this PTI government, he added. He said it was a saddening that even Bangladesh with a population of 170 million had $ 320 billion GDP while Pakistan with a population of 220 million had around $ 270 billion. On the other hand the wholesale price index was at 27 per cent, he said. 

Sialkot lynching: 118 including 13 prime suspects arrested, says IG Punjab Shehbaz questioned where was that Loan Commission that was formed at the stroke of midnight as if there was some sort of emergency, security agencies like ISI, FIA and IB were all included in that commission but its report is still pending. 

He said that report was pending because they couldn’t find any wrongdoing by PML-N while they were guilty themselves.  Talking about trade deficit, he said dollar was at Rs 122 in June 2018 was now at Rs 179, which meant that the rupee has devalued by Rs 55. 

Meanwhile, the exports were minimal and the imports had shot through the roof, he said. 

The trade deficit was now at $ 23 billion and might reach $ 50 billion by next year. Where would the foreign exchange to fund this come from? How would the people afford essential imports like life-saving medicine, dry milk etc?, he questioned.  The PMLN President said the expenditures of the President House and the Prime Minister House were increasing while the government had decided to cut the development expenditure by Rs 200 billion on IMF’s directions which would further increase unemployment.  Criticizing the PTI government’s agriculture policies, he said Pakistan used to export wheat and sugar but was now importing them worth billions of dollars under Imran Niazi’s rule.  He said that despite efficient gas powered projects, Imran government imported billions’ worth of furnace oil and produced expensive electricity to benefit their blue-eyed. 

The government did not buy the cheapest gas available in the international market and ended up buying the most expensive deal. On top of that, he said, the country was now faced with gas shortage which would affect the industry and exports as well, in addition to the domestic users. 

The National Assembly Opposition leader said that this government was now going to impose Rs 4 Petroleum Development levy every month and would re-impose Sales Tax which would further burden the already crushed Pakistanis. 

“PTI had made Pakistan a slave of the IMF. They had jeopardized Pakistan’s security interests as well with their terrible steps,” he said. 

If the current situation is allowed to continue, Pakistan would need to borrow more to just run the basic operations of the government, including defence, he said. 

Pakistan had no choice but to pay off these loans, which he said was going to be a tough job, but could only be achieved by competent and honest administration not by corrupt and incompetent ones. 

Shehbaz rejected notions of rift between the opposition and praised the unity of the joint opposition over national issues. 

He said that they would continue to fight the case of Pakistan inside and outside the Parliament. Responding to a question he said the December 6 meeting of the joint opposition would decide the details regarding the Long march.

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