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Govt decision to go for IMF is another U-turn: Opp Senator

11 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Opposition senators on Wednesday said the government decision to go for the IMF programme was another U-turn as they recalled that the PM Imran Khan had promised the nation during his election campaign that he would commit suicide but never to the IMF.

Speaking on a point of public importance, PPP leader Senator Raza Rabbani said when the IMF team came to Pakistan, the finance minister termed it a routine visit. The finance minister on the floor of the house claimed that the government has no intention to opt for the IMF programme, and now the PTI government decided to go ahead with it. This was a breach of privilege of the House. The government also claimed that if it decided to go into IMF programme, then it would be discussed in the Parliament but regretted that no one was taken into confidence.

Rabbani said it was IMF’s suggestion to increase prices of all utilities including gas, power, CNG and others and now the people were paying the price due to massive price hikes during last 50 days of the government. During the agreement with IMF, it was also decided to privatise public entities, which would further create unemployment in the country. Rabbani warned that the PPP will oppose the privatisation policy of the the government. He regretted that all conditionalities of the IMF have been accepted. He demanded that the government should call another session of the Senate to hold a discussion over the agreement made with the IMF, otherwise the opposition would request for it. Responding to Rabbani, State Minister for Finance Muhammad Hammad Azhar said PTI has just formed the government and it had to go to the IMF due to the wrong economic policies of previous two governments. He said that state entities losses had reached such an alarming level that they were almost the same as the defence spending. The minister also claimed that despite having experienced people, both the PPP and the PML-N governments went to the IMF in their respective tenures. But the same bailout package was also not utilised properly. He assured the House that the PTI would introduce such reforms that in future no government would need to opt for the IMF programmes.

But Senator Mushahidullah Khan claimed that PTI has got the vote on the slogan of change/revolution, then why were they following the previous administrations’ examples in going to the IMF. He also complained about the government’s behaviour with Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif. He said references were made against several politicians but only Sharif was arrested, showing that the government was pursuing a politics of revenge. Senator Asif Kirmani said that non-elected people were running the government.

However, Leader of the House Shibli Faraz said that cases against Shehbaz Sharif were not made by PTI, rather they were registered during his own party’s tenure. He claimed that PTI had nothing to do with the arrest.

Earlier, ruckus marred the session of Senate after yet another exchange of harsh words between Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry and Senator Mushahidullah. Fawad Chaudhry again lashed out at Mushahidullah, to which Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani asked the PTI leader to apologise.

As the information minister took the floor of the Senate, the PML-N demanded that he should tender an apology, to which the PTI leader said that why should he apologise as the matter of Mushahidullah’s relatives appointments in the Pakistan International Airline (PIA) was being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Chaudhry also claimed in the House that 163,000 employees, including those sacked in 1996, were regularised by a committee headed by the PPP lawmaker Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah despite the fact that appeals of many of these employees had been settled.

The Senate chairman also asked Leader of the House Shibli Faraz and PPP Senator Mian Raza Rabbani for help but the clash continued.

Meanwhile, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior, Senator Rehman Malik moved a motion for adoption of the 4th and Final Report on ”Holding of Free, Fair and Transparent General Elections- 2018 and its Security”. The Report was unanimously adopted by the House. Chairman Senate Sadiq Sanjrani appreciated Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior for his tireless efforts in probing and compiling the comprehensive Report on Election- 2018.

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