PPP, PML-N lash out at PM after his address to nation - GulfToday

PPP, PML-N lash out at PM after his address to nation

Imran-Khan

Imran Khan. File

Tariq Butt

Two main opposition parties, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan for yet another outburst against opponents in his latest televised address to the nation.

Terming it the “premier’s panicked midnight address to the nation,” PPP chairman Bilawal said on his official social media page on Twitter that the prime minister feared that he would be unable to get the budget passed by the National Assembly and that his government would fall.

“Coercion will not work. No one with a conscience could vote to increase taxes, inflation and unemployment. This budget is economic suicide, we cannot let it pass.”

Earlier, through another tweet, the PPP chairman had expressed his concern over the arrest of the opposition members, including his father Asif Ali Zardari, stating that “while democratic civilian leadership have been arrested, banned organisations, good Taliban and the minister who facilitated terrorists roam free.”

He added that “clearly the priority of the state is to crush democratic civilian voices while continuing to coddle and harbour terrorists and extremists.”

In another tweet, Bilawal alleged he was being “censored” in the National Assembly because “the coward PM” could not tolerate his speech. He also criticised National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser for not issuing the production order for Zardari and reiterated his demand that the speaker should resign.

A PPP delegation comprising Syed Khurshid Shah, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Sherry Rehman and Ghulam Mustafa Shah visited the residence of the speaker to make a personal request for the issuance of the production order pertaining to Zardari, but they returned empty-handed when made aware that the speaker was not in town.

Shah said that he had spoken to the speaker on the telephone and had been told that he would respond to their request very soon. Shah, however, said that it seemed as though the speaker had powers, but no “permission” to issue the production order.

The PML-N’s information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said in a statement that the prime minister’s address had been full of “lies and enmity,” which through his “censored and disorganised” comments had made Pakistan a laughing stock.

Imran will constitute a forum the Pakistan Commission of Inquiry Act, 2017 to probe a massive rise in foreign debts and misuse of loans, if any, during the last decade.

He presided over a meeting to finalise ToR the commission he had announced in his televised address to the nation.

The meeting was informed that the commission would comprise senior officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI), Intelligence Bureau (IB), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), Auditor General’s Office, Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and others.

The commission will investigate how the debt had increased by Rs24,000 billion between 2008 and 2018, whereas according to the participants no mega projects had been completed during this period.

It will not only look into all ministries and divisions, including the ministers concerned who had spent public money, but will also work to bring back the money, in case of misappropriation, to the exchequer.

It will also look into any misuse of public exchequer for personal use and gains such as foreign travels, foreign medical treatment expenses, construction of roads and infrastructure for private houses declared as camp offices of high officials.

The commission, in addition to its members, will be empowered to induct forensic auditors/experts of international repute for its assistance.

Final TORs and announcement of the commission head will be made public during this week.

Law Minister Mohammad Farogh Naseem, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Accountability Shahzad Akbar and Auditor General Javaid Jehangir also attended the meeting.

The prime minister in his televised address had vowed to go after those responsible for increasing foreign debts from Rs6,000b to Rs30,000b during the last decade and had announced the commission of inquiry to ascertain who had misused foreign loans and how the public money had been misappropriated.