IMF loan revival not to ease Pakistan’s woes, says PM Shehbaz
Says govt committed to tackle economic challenges: Allies agreed incumbent govt to complete its tenure: Petrol, gas prices to be determined by their int’l rates
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Addressing the PML-N senators on Thursday, Shehbaz Sharif said although the government has finalized the conditions with the IMF for the loan revival the difficulties Pakistan is facing will not go away.
The prime minister expressed the hope that the agreement with the IMF will be through if the Fund does not impose any new conditions.
Shehbaz Sharif said that the allies have decided that the incumbent government will complete its tenure. He divulged that some coalition friends were of the view that they should move towards elections after undertaking reforms. “But, it’s final now, we will complete our term,” he added.
Assailing the previous PTI government, the prime minister said the Imran Khan government had finalized an agreement with the IMF but did not implement it.
“When defeat stared in their faces they deliberately lowered the petrol price and even did not bother for the federal cabinet’s approval,” he said.
PM Shehbaz said that the coalition government was paying the price for the ‘flawed’ policies of the PTI government. “The former government laid landmines for us,” he opined.
He further said that Imran Khan and members of his government had no sympathies with the poor.
He told the senators that the prices of petrol and gas in the country would be determined by their rates in the international market.
He made it clear that when it came to state versus politics, state came first.
The prime minister wondered as to what Pakistan’s friends like China and Saudi Arabia would be thinking about the country. “They must be asking themselves as to when Pakistan will stand on its own feet,” he commented.
Shehbaz said the government was committed to bringing the country out of its difficult situation and vowed to prioritize the steps aimed at the nation’s prosperity and development. He said though the country could still face the difficult times ahead due to the inherited inefficiency of the previous government, however, the coalition government would brave every challenge effectively.
PM Sharif said the coalition government was unanimous that the 14 months would be used for reformation and improvement of the country by keeping the country ahead of political interests.
He pointed out that the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf had struck a deal with International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pass on the change in fuel prices and had accepted to raise Rs 30 petrol levy and sales tax of 17 percent.
However, he said, the deal was quashed and the previous government had suddenly reduced the prices this March at a time when the petrol prices skyrocketed globally.
This abnormal imbalance left the country in a difficult economic situation, he said.
He said his government would keep the nation onboard regarding difficult economic decisions and would not deceive them, unlike the PTI government.
Shehbaz Sharif said the government’s deal on conditions with IMF had been finalized, however, said the positive results in the shape of development would take some time.
He stressed the need for strengthening the national economy by taking effective steps.
The prime minister said the PTI government had no empathy for the common man as it ended several projects of Pakistan Muslim League-N tenure that were aimed at public welfare.
He said the forefathers of the sub-continent had rendered immense sacrifices to establish a separate homeland to lead a comfortable life.
However, he said during 73 years, all governments including civil and military, could not help this dream get materialized.
PM Sharif said China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar always supported Pakistan in difficult times besides siding at the diplomatic level.
He mentioned that the recent $2.3 billion loan from China was a respite in the current trying times.
For the first time in history, he said a genuine tax was imposed on the net income of affluent persons to provide relief to poor who were the real builders of Pakistan.
Also, to reduce the burden on poor, Rs2,000 stipend was announced to provide them relief, he added.
He termed it a political and religious obligation of the rich to accommodate the deserving people and contribute to the prosperity of nation.
He said in next few days, he would address the nation to take them onboard regarding the steps taken by the government to improve the economic situation.
The prime minister regretted that several welfare projects launched by PM Nawaz Sharif were stopped by the PTI government.
He mentioned that the laptop scheme was accused as a “political bribe”, but the time showed that it became a source of online connectivity for students during COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Pakistan did not need a “Naya Pakistan”, but the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Sharif said the PTI government with its negative approach inflicted damage to the ties with other countries, however, the present government was taking steps to mend them for the benefit of the nation.