KARACHI: Pasban Democratic Party (PDP) Chairman Altaf Shakoor said though on paper we claim that we are the citizens of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan but practically we have become the subjects of the international lending institutions, like IMF and World Bank.

The inability of the government of Pakistan to reduce even the electricity tariffs itself without permission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is proof that the debt trap has virtually robbed away our sovereignty, regretted Altaf Shakoor here Sunday.

He said we give almost 80percent of what we earn to these lenders for their heavy loans and interests and run the country with the remaining 20 percent.

He said the time is not far away when our whole budget would go into the belly of our lenders. He said the debt trap is no more a fiction but it has become a dreadful reality of the people of Pakistan.

He said that the whole nation is protesting against the hike in oil and electricity prices and demanding of the government of Pakistan to reduce these tariffs but the government sadly can’t do anything, as the country’s policies are virtually being made by our international lenders.

He said unless we get rid of these foreign loans we can’t live the life of an independent nation. He said the slavery of the international lenders is worse than the slavery of the former East India Company, and the British rulers.

He said the previous government had taken some brief bold steps like banning imports of luxurious goods but it could not continue a firm stand and soon took summersault not only on the import policy but also agreed not to intervene for maintaining the value of the Pak rupee.

He said the result is more shortage of the US dollars and more devaluation of the Pakistani rupee. He said with the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee our foreign debt raises automatically and the debt trap goes further tightened around the neck of this poor nation.

Altaf Shakoor said to lessen the import of fuel we have to go solar on a war footing basis but again the government seems dragging heels as no matching steps are being taken to solarise Pakistan on an emergency basis. He said interest free loans and subsidies are required on micro level to turn households in Pakistan on solar power. However, the government lacks firm courage and commitment also on this crucial front.

He said the situation would result in more public protests and more chaos. It may spread anarchy and further destabilize Pakistan, which is the real target of our enemies.

He said it seems that the government’s policies are more favourable for this plan to destabilize the nation and country than to resolve the burning issues of our people. He said it is high time that ‘the real stakeholder institutions’ of Pakistan should wake up from the deep slumber and realize the gravity of the situation before it is too late.

He said the country can’t afford more protests, more strikes and more anarchy. We must salvage our economy and the first step in this regard would be to break the shackles of loan-slavery. He said the government must start serious talks to get some sort of relief on its foreign debts on an emergency basis.

It is a bitter fact that these loans were gotten by the ‘economic hit men’ of the lenders present in different ruling political parties including the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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