ISLAMABAD  - Heart burnt by the recent statements of Imran Khan, Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal has accused Khan of spreading hatred among the people in the name of provincialism.

While holding a press conference here, Ahsan said the country was facing a hard time and this was no time to talk in a way that Imran Khan had adopted these days.

He while referring to the Imran's accusation that a major portion of budget was being spent on Punjab, said, "The allegation is totally baseless, the government had allocated funds for all provinces and there was no justification to do politics on the basis of provincialism without any solid argument".

Ahsan said, "National development agenda was devised on the basis of national priorities instead of allocating amounts on the basis of each province. "The provincial compartmental approach is against the logic for preparing budget".

He further said that Gwadar Port was being built in Balochistan and it was a project of national importance, the government had signed coal based electricity projects with China and those are also not being established in Punjab and same is the case with the Pak-China trade corridor.

The minister said that the government allocated Rs 36 billion for under- funded areas of which Rs 15 billion were allocated for Balochistan, Rs 8 billion for Sindh, Rs 4 billion for KP, Rs 4 billion for FATA, Rs 3 billion for AJK and Rs 2 billion for Gilgit-Baltistan.

There was no penny allocated for Punjab under this scheme, he said adding the Punjab's Chief Minister had protested for not allocating any money for this special programme during the NEC meeting.

About the roughly estimated $200 billion of Pakistanis lying into Swiss bank accounts, Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistani authorities were formally going to start negotiations on the subject with Swiss authorities in August this year. "The government will make all-out efforts to bring back the ill gotten money from Swiss banks", he said.

Responding to Imran's allegation that the government had granted all powers to Maryam Nawaz Sharif for providing Rs 100 billion loans under the PM's Youth Loan Scheme, the minister said that there was no personal discretion involved in this scheme and the State Bank of Pakistan as well as National Bank of Pakistan were conducting due diligence to ensure transparency in this scheme.

About Khan's allegation that the government had taken huge loans, the minister responded that the major loan that was taken by this government was of $6 billion from IMF and that the government was forced to do so because the previous government had taken loans from IMF and the present government had to pay back.

He said that there was no major net increase in the loans and the government was paying back the loans. About the loans taken from World Bank and Asian Development Bank, he said that Pakistan received $1.4 billion from WB and ADB under concessional loan quota which could have lapsed if not availed.

Responding to the question about a third power's involvement behind Imran, the minister said, "People are very well aware now and these tactics are of no use now, it is time to unite instead of leveling allegations. We should compete on the basis of performance instead of adopting agitation based politics".