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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman has said that from 2018, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has taken foreign loans worth a whopping $33 billion, which includes Eurobonds.

She said that the World Bank projects only 1.3 per cent GDP growth for our economy, which is the lowest in South Asia.

She said that external debt has skyrocketed to Rs18 trillion - increase of 7.5 per cent in a year, while our overall public debt has crossed Rs44 trillion.

She said this is the same PTI, which claimed that it would not borrow but return loans.

“Why have they gone back on their words?” she asked.

The PPP parliamentary leader, in a statement on Monday, said “It is a shame that instead of giving relief to people in Ramzan, they are being burdened with extreme inflation. Average food inflation hovers around 18.7 per cent which is the highest in south Asia. People are struggling to pay for daily staples like eggs, wheat, sugar and chicken. Despite Competition Commission of Pakistan report that PTI leaders made billions from sugar hoarding, some are still holding key positions. People are battling both a severe spike in Covid-19 transmission along with a 17.68 per cent surge in food prices this year”.

“Due to their enhanced borrowing and irresponsible governance, each person in Naya Pakistan will have a debt of Rs175,000 on them. This is not fair on people who are trying to make ends meet since this government came into power. Where is all this money going if “Tabahi Sarkar” did not even pay for the vaccines to protect even one percent of Pakistan’s population and waited for China to bail them out?” she questioned.

Rehman said, “Even after all the donations, ‘Na Ehl Sarkar’ has only secured 22.2 million doses of coronavirus vaccines. While, the adult population that needs to be vaccinated is 50 million. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that Pakistan will be able to vaccinate 60 to 70 per cent of its adult population by early 2023. While everyone in the country is asking the same question, why were the vaccines not ordered on time?”

“Relying on donations like Covax to vaccinate the majority of the population is not really a plan. The government has vaccinated 1.7% of its 100 million adult (over 18 years) population. It is a painful reality but our positivity rate is increasing, we have lost more than 150 healthcare workers to the virus, our reported cases have crossed 800,000 and we are heading towards acute oxygen shortage as cases continue to rise,” she added.

She said that Pakistan is going through unprecedented times.

“Along with fighting the Covid virus, people are now fighting the ‘Tabahi’ virus that this government has brought upon us. ‘Na Ehl Sarkar’ is failing at multiple levels which can be seen in how they have handled the Covid situation or how the economy is in [a] shambles,” she said.

Vice President PPPP Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying, “Despite the challenging situation, we are yet to see an action plan by the government. Where is the government? The continuous cabinet reshuffling is a clear reflection of the confused state the government is in. This is the fourth time that the finance minister has been changed in three years, how can we expect this government to give us relief? PTI is engulfed in a political chaos and the country is paying the price for it.”

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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