Islamabad, August 18, 2020: Discussing the PTI led government’s 2-year performance, Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “They have taken the country to a point of ruin where people wonder how to bring it back from such devastation”.
“What happened to the false promises of providing 10 million jobs and five million houses for the poor? Instead, millions have lost their jobs and houses because of the disastrous PTI rule. In June, 9350 employees of Pakistan Steel Mill have been fired and now 450 employees of PTDC have been let go. The government is just busy in the loot sale of state assets both at home and abroad,” she added.
Rehman said, “Federalism and constitution are under attack. Parliament has been treated less as a place to engage in healthy debate and enact laws and more as a forum to run down opponents with choice abuse and wild accusations. The ordinances promulgated by the government have outnumbered the laws as they only depended on it. This has exposed the abysmal performance of the government. The Prime Minister has also been missing and only attended 9 sittings during the second year. The inefficient and incompetent cabinet is made up of friends who benefit and misuse their authority”.
“There is disunity amongst the ruling party which is becoming obvious. Clearly, there is policy confusion in the frontline ranks at the Foreign Office and cabinet. PTI ranks have now become fault lines that are having an impact on the clarity and strategic force of our policy. How can a government with no cohesion inside its own cabinet instil confidence in Pakistan’s policies abroad?” she questioned.
The Senator said, “Even before pandemic hit us, Pakistan’s circular debt was surging, currency was devaluing and public debt was rising at an alarming rate. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) based monthly inflation increased to 9.3% on a Year-on-Year (YoY) basis in July 2020, from 8.6% during June 2020. The circular debt in the power sector currently standing at Rs2,219 billion is to swell up to Rs4,000 billion in 2025 that will have a catastrophic impact on the economy. Marred by poor governance, the PTI government has missed its original tax collection target by a record Rs1.58 trillion as it could pool nearly Rs3.981 trillion by end of fiscal year 2019-20. The prevailing energy crisis in Pakistan is taking away 2% (or Rs 380 billion) of the economy. Despite a historical dip in international oil prices, the domestic oil prices stand at around Rs 104.47/litre. The PTI government must not solely blame the COVID-19 crisis for the current economic turmoil. Let’s not forget that the federal budget 2020 has failed on multiple levels”.
“The Auditor General of Pakistan in a recent report has revealed that corruption and irregularities worth Rs 270 billion have been found in the PTI tenure of govt transactions. That’s a huge number. Where is NAB action on this? Or is it busy with its opposition witch hunt and media targets?” she asked.
Discussing the curb on media freedoms, she said,” A free media is fundamental to functional democracy. Transparency is crucial in times of crisis. Freedom of expression is not negotiable, just like coercion of media or its censorship is unacceptable. The incumbent government has imposed ban on the media freedom through various ways”.
“In Pakistan, 38% of the area are breeding grounds for the desert locust, whereas the entire country is under the threat of invasion if the desert locust is not contained in the breeding regions. But we still have not seen an action plan on it and nor is there any relief provided for the farmers who are suffering,” she commented on the alarming locust situation.
Commenting on the unprecedented surge in gas prices, the Senator stated that “Gas prices has been increased by 221% since 2018 by the Center. What is more shocking is that Sindh has faced major gas shortages despite being a major gas producer, which is a clear violation of Article 158 of the Constitution of Pakistan. CM Sindh has raised this issue numerous times in the CCI meetings but the Center paid no heed to it”.
Parliamentary Leader of the PPP in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “The National airline is made to crash, rupee is depreciating, petrol prices are on a rise, load shedding has returned, health sector is collapsing but instead of working on these issues and coming up with action plans, the government is busy in covering up their corruption scandals. The Auditor General of Pakistan in a recent report has revealed that corruption and irregularities worth Rs 270 billion have been found in the PTI tenure of government transactions. Surprisingly we don’t see any NAB action over this, is it because these laws don’t apply to PTI government?”