ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has claimed that China has rolled over for a year its two billion dollars loan to Pakistan—denying the media reports that Pakistan was still awaiting this rollover.
In a Senate session on Friday, Dar termed as “speculative and misleading” the reports carried by a section of foreign media that Pakistan was still waiting for rollover of China’s $2 billion loan.
Responding to a point of order raised by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) stalwart and former chairman Senate Raza Rabbani regarding the said reports, Dar spoke in rejection of these media reports.
“Our business with China relates to safe deposit and commercial banks I am happy to confirm that China’s $2 billion loan is not outstanding anymore since this loan has been rolled over,” he said.
Dar said that the rollover took place on March 23 and documentation in this regard was completed. “This issue is no longer lingering,” the minister claimed.
Although, the finance minister attended the Senate sitting, majority of the cabinet members did not show up for the house’s sitting which drew ire of treasury Senator Asif Kirmani.
In an apparently embarrassing situation for the federal government, Kirmani, who belongs to Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), slammed the absence of the federal ministers from the Senate session including those from his own political party the N-League. Questioning Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani over this issue, Kirmani asked as to why the “spoiled” ministers were not in the house.
“This is so-called upper house of the parliament but it is not taken seriously at all where are the ministers?” the senator asked in an audibly grim tone.
Attempting to pacify the aggrieved senator, State Law Minister Shahadat Awan stated that the ministers were “busy in important official engagements” and they would attend the Senate sitting soon.
“What does that mean? Are we all sitting idle here? Have we got nothing to do?” Kirmani questioned, as a visible embarrassed state law minister, who is also a senator, assured him that cabinet members would attend the house meetings in future.
The Chairman Senate also stated that he would reach out to the senior government officials to ensure the attendance of the ministers at the Senate session.
Meanwhile, two government bills; Petroleum (Amendment) Bill 2022 and Trade Dispute Resolution Bill 2023 were moved in Senate and referred to the relevant standing committees. The house was adjourned till Monday.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023