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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), on Friday, termed the recently-passed State Bank of Pakistan autonomy bill an “anti-Pakistan” legislation and drew the attention of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the bill will be reversed once the party comes into power.

Speaking at a news conference, senior PML-N leaders including former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, party secretary-general Ahsan Iqbal, former finance minister Miftah Ismail, Khurram Dastagir, and others, accused the government of bulldozing the important legislation such as the passage of the Finance (Supplementary) Bill and the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 on Thursday, terming the day as the “darkest day” of the country’s history.

“The IMF must listen that the State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 will be reversed the moment we come into power, as we don’t accept any legislation which is against the interest of the country,” Abbasi maintained.

He accused the PTI government of handing over the “keys of country’s economy to the IMF”, adding; “nothing is more dangerous than this.”

He said that that through the mini budget, a burden of more than Rs700 billion have been placed on the people’s shoulders.

“We will never accept handing over the country’s economy to the IMF for the sake of a $6-billion loan,” he vowed, adding that such things happen when a “disgraced government comes to power and the prime minister has nothing to say but to tell lies to the nation.”

Govt handing key to Pakistan's economy to IMF: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi

He further maintained that no rules and constitutional guidelines were followed during the voting for the bills and it all happened in the presence of the prime minister.

He referred to his private conversations with the ministers, and maintained that the government ministers had been telling them that they were compelled to pass the bill “under pressure from the IMF.”

He said that January 13 was the “darkest day” for the Parliament and the country, adding that the bills were passed in the “darkness of the night” without any discussion.

Through the mini budget, Abbasi claimed that the government has put an extra burden of Rs25,000 on every family in the country.

Referring to the confrontation between the Defence Minister, Pervez Khattak, and Prime Minister Imran Khan in the PTI parliamentary party meeting on Thursday, Abbasi asked that why has the government not bought Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) when the country is going through a gas crisis.

Former finance minister Miftah Ismail claimed that the SBP Governor, Raza Baqir, had “undermined” the Finance Minister, Shaukat Tarin, during negotiations with the IMF.

“Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and SBP Governor Raza Baqir are not at good terms. Hence, the governor undermined the finance minister during the negotiations with the IMF…This governor had earlier too damaged Pakistan’s interest and he will continue to do so,” he further claimed.

He stated that the IMF is asking the government to reduce the budget deficit but instead of taking austerity measures, the government decided to impose further taxes on the people.

He said that through the mini budget, the government has imposed a tax on chicken and fish feed as this step will ultimately increase chicken and fish prices in the country. He said that tax on machinery and a 140 percent tax burden has also been imposed on pharmaceuticals.

He said further tax on medicines has also been imposed due to which the prices have already been increased by 300 to 400 percent, while tax on bread was withdrawn but shopkeepers have to pay the taxes.

Ahsan Iqbal also termed January 13 as the “darkest day of Pakistan’s history”, saying that he requested the NA speaker that the bill regarding the SBP is against Pakistan but it was approved in violation of all the rules and regulations.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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