Army chief justified in speaking on economy: Khursheed

SUKKUR -  Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah has said that what happened outside the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) court in Islamabad on Friday was not a petty matter, and added that he had already said that confrontation with the institutions was not good for the country.

While addressing a gathering as well as during a talk with media persons at village Imdad Ali Mirani near Rohri near Sukkur on Saturday, he said that the constitution of 1973 of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) had already settled the matter of finality of prophethood in unambiguous terms, but debating the matter again by Capt. Retired Safdar had only created confusion.

While replying to a question concerning economy of the country, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said that every citizen of Pakistan as well as the army had the right to ask about economy and the ministers, instead of criticising the army, were required to clarify the situation.

Reminding that the country was currently in the grip of several issues, leader of the opposition said that one should avoid making small things an issue and avoid mudslinging. He said that it would be better for the parliament and democracy.

Khursheed said he had already announced an amount of Rs10 million for development works in village Imdad Ali Mirani while the District Council Sukkur had also allocated an amount of Rs30 million after which work on improving the road infrastructure as well as the sewerage system in the area was underway.


Staff Reporter from Karachi adds: Expressing his discontentment over the severe economic crisis that has befallen the country, PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla has said that all economic indicators are showing red signals. Addressing a press conference in Karachi on Saturday along with PPP Karachi division President Dr Asim Hussain, Senator Saleem Mandviwalla added that the reality was that “Pakistan’s macro-economic uncertainties are rising and current external situation can become unsustainable in the absence of adequate policy response, as warned by the World Bank as well.”

Mandviwalla also said that the trade deficit had reached record levels high and stood at $27 billion while the Forex reserves were decreasing everyday, which meant Pakistan did not have the capacity to pay its import bills.

He further said that imports had increased to $48.58 billion, whereas in PPP’s five- year tenure, oil prices were close to $120 per barrel, but PPP successfully managed to control the imports, as compared to PMLN.

The PPP senator expressed his deep concern over the falling exports of the country as well.

He said that exports had decreased by $4 billion despite the presence of PML-N’s so called experienced team and claims of loadshedding free power supply to the industry. “Even Bangladesh and Vietnam are performing better than Pakistan,” he pointed out.

Mandviwalla said that Pakistan’s macro- economic situation was worsening with each passing day. “The current account deficit has been on an upward trajectory since PML-N came to power and has reached $12.12 billion, whereas PPP’s government had brought it down from $13.87 billion to $4.658 billion during its tenure,” Senator Mandviwalla added.

He also claimed that during first four years of its government, PPP had decreased the fiscal deficit despite huge oil prices, global inflation and economic downturn, fiscal contraction in US, unprecedented floods in 2010 and 2011, huge security spending and energy crisis that were plaguing Pakistan at that time. “The current fiscal deficit is over 6 percent due to pending payments of refunds & circular debt,” he told media.

While expressing his reservations over the huge burden of debts, Mandviwalla said that “Total debt and liabilities of the country have reached the alarming level of 25.06 trillion rupees from 16.34 trillion rupees during the last four years of PML-N government, which has borrowed more than PPP despite higher GDP growth claims, lower oil prices, lower inflation rate and improved global economic situation.”

He said that external debt and liabilities were also record high at $82.98 billion, which showed that the country risked imminent default, as external debt payments were rising sharply along with declining foreign earnings.

The senator also said that PML-N government had failed to revive the loss-making entities, “Public Sector Entities (PSEs) are bleeding heavily despite the experienced team of PML-N in-charge of economic affairs,” he mocked, and added, “Their debt has reached the record level of 1.055 trillion rupees as PIA losses have increased to $4 billion.”

Mandviwalla went on to say that Liquid Forex Reserves of SBP had declined by $4.63 billion during the last year (Sep 16 to Sep 17).

He added that, “Portfolio investment is declining as PML-N government has never introduced any policy to promote capital formation and consolidation to improve investment and competitiveness.”

He further said that investment spending was at its lowest in history. During PPP’s tenure, there was 16 percent of GDP in investment spending. Election promise of PML-N was to raise the investment spending to 20 percent.

The PPP senator also said that the textile sector was in tatters and cotton output had dropped to its lowest in 17 years. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Asim Hussain also said that, “PML-N government has made no improvement in taxation system and has completely failed to increase direct taxes in the country.”

He further said that the present government was fooling the nation. “At one time, they used to say that Pakistan was going to become an Asian Tiger and it would be leaving Canada and other economies of the world behind,” he said, and reminded, “This they have failed to accomplish.”

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