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ISLAMABAD: The opposition leader in National Assembly Omar Ayub Saturday said China’s latest warning to Pakistan to ‘put your house in order’ as China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects are in danger, is a gross failure of our intelligence agencies to curb the menace of terrorism in the country.

These words from Ayub, who is also PTI secretary general, come a day after Liu Jianchao, who is serving as the Minister of Central Committee of the International Department of the Communist Party of China, singled out security as the foremost challenge threatening the future of CPEC. Speaking on the floor of National Assembly, chaired by NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Ayub said that “it is a clear message for the government to ensure security for CPEC projects or else future CPEC investments in the country will be jeopardised”.

He demanded the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir to convene an emergency Corps Commanders Conference to discuss security failures concerning Chinese citizens.

Omar terms budget ‘economic terrorism’

“I would like to demand the army chief convene a conference solely focused on the security of Chinese citizens and experts besides reviewing the current security measures and accountability for any failures,” he maintained.

He further criticised the recent arrests of over 100 PTI workers in Punjab during protests and called for action against the Punjab IG Dr Usman Anwar, calling him a “certified tout” for filing cases against assembly members.

“Instead of providing security to the people, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is busy in kidnapping PTI leaders, workers and journalists, using the black Vigo trucks purchased from the taxpayers’ money,” he regretted.

He reiterated that budget for intelligence agencies including the ISI should be presented in the house for discussion.

“We have the right to know whether this whopping amount being given to spy agencies is used for purchasing Vigo trucks or to counter the enemies of the country,” he added.

He questioned why the official of ISI and other agency personnel are roaming in Adiala Jail to spy on Imran Khan instead of doing their own job. The session saw the return of PPP members, who ended their boycott, increasing their presence in the house. Among those present were Mirza Ikhtiar Baig, Sharmila Farooqi, Naveed Qamar, Ejaz Jakhrani, Abdul Qadir Patel, and Jamal Rehmani. In a rare move, Abdul Qadir Patel of PPP regretted hand-picking of “imported” finance minister by PPP, PML-N and PTI, saying “we all did one thing after coming into power and that’s importing ministers, who then do their job of preparing IMF-dictated budgets”.

He maintained that the trend of importing ministers must come to an end.

MQM-Pakistan member Mustafa Kamal highlighted budget concerns, noting that Rs9,500 billion would be spent on interest payments, consuming 51 per cent of the revenue.

He questioned the PTI’s silence on interest payments despite their talk of an Islamic state and criticised the government for not implementing the Federal Shariat Court’s decision to eliminate interest.

He urged a review of agreements with IPPs, pointing out that capacity charges were higher than the PSDP allocation.

He suggested that leaders such as Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, and others contribute from their wealth to reduce Pakistan’s debt.

“I would like to suggest that Zardari should sell Bilawal House, Nawaz Sharif should put his Raiwind Palace on sale, and Imran Khan should dispose of his Bani Gala residence to collect Rs1,000 billion,” he added.

He continued that if these leaders manage to collect Rs1,000 billion to clear the country from foreign debts, the people of the country would stand by them, but the trio should have a heart to play their due role for the uplift of the country.

At the same time, he fell short to call upon the army chief to play his due role in making the country debt free, but he did propose that serving military generals and other affluent individuals should also contribute, and parliament members should allocate 25 per cent of their earnings.

Kamal argued that if the wealthy leadership made symbolic contributions, the public would be motivated to help reduce the national debt.

At the onset of the session, the opposition leader in NA accused the government of misleading the parliament, saying “the provincial surplus of Sindh is zero and the federal government is misstating its provincial surpluses”.

“In budget figures, the provincial have come but here the federal government is telling a “lie”,” he added.

Earlier in the afternoon, the PTI MNAs and senators organised a protest march from Parliament House to Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) building to lodge their protest against the ECP for depriving the party from free and fair elections, nullifying the intra-party elections and myriad of other issues.

The PTI MNAs and senators, led by the opposition leader in National Assembly Omar Ayub, deplored that the ECP which is supposed to be impartial is working as a B team of the ruling elite, especially the PML-N.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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TruthHurts Jun 23, 2024 08:25am
What about a moot to save Pakistani citizens from Kacha Dakoos? Nop! Low priority!
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Pakistani Jun 23, 2024 06:09pm
PTI put CPEC on backburner during its tenor to please some powers causing a huge loss to Pakistan. Now PTI are trying to appear to be the biggest champions for CPEC. Is this honest politics?
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