Tariq Butt / Staff Reporter
Pakistan Premier Minister Imran Khan on Saturday took a strong stance against the opposition parties for calling him a "selected prime minister” saying people who themselves were manufactured in the nursery of military dictatorship are calling him selected.
No opposition lawmaker was present in the House when he addressed the National Assembly, and said his government inherited economic challenges and a fiscal deficit worth $19 billion.
"The opposition is misleading public on the devaluation of the rupee. (Leader of the opposition) Shahbaz Sharif delivered a charged address in which he blamed us for the rupee devaluation and economic situation. He did not say why we are here: this government had the largest fiscal deficit. Imports were high, exports very low.”
Imran termed money laundering as the basic cause of dollar shortage in the country. "One of the main reasons is money laundering. The ruling elite siphoned off dollars from Pakistan. When rulers do that, then no one can be stopped. We have found out that there are $10 billion of Pakistanis abroad. Sharif’s family was responsible for this mess — how can they accuse us? In western democracies, the parliament protects public interest. Here, people who faced massive corruption charges are in the parliament lecturing us.”
The premier said Shahbaz, who was accused of corruption worth billions was made the head of the Public Accounts Committee. "How can we ever justify that? We have tainted the sanctity of our parliament through such actions. This parliament passed a law allowing a convicted person to head a political party. As [federal minister] Murad Saeed said ‘former US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice mentioned in her biography that the US wanted these people in power because they protected Washington’s interests.”
The premier congratulated members of his government and allied parties for their participation in the budget session and "for delivering quality speeches."
The government has directed all federal ministries and institutions and the governments of four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan to submit by Sept.1 the declarations of assets held and acquired by their employees during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.
In separate office memorandums, the government also notified 15 per cent ad hoc relief allowance (ARA) to the officers in management grades, besides extending the benefit of 5-10pc ARA to selective corporations and autonomous bodies.
The Prime Minister's Office said that Imran Khan has directed all ministries and divisions to submit their one-year performance report. He has instructed the ministries and divisions to highlight five big achievements during the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf government's first year in power by Aug.9
The premier said every month 80,000 people will be given loans and 50,000 students from the downtrodden section of society will be awarded scholarships every year.
"We had a very difficult two years. We didn't have foreign exchange and couldn't pay our debts. We have avoided a huge crisis because we didn't default (payments). But I know it hasn't been easy for the people, I understand the difficulties they faced and still are facing,” he said in a televised address to the nation.
India has amended a law in Jammu and Kashmir allowing Indian citizens to buy land in the disputed territory, said officials, sparking opposition criticism about a steady erosion of the rights of Kashmiri people.
Two people were reported killed and 26 others missing as Typhoon Molave hit central Vietnam on Wednesday, knocking down trees and tearing roofs off homes in some of the worst destruction seen in years.
A senior Chinese official accused the United States on Wednesday of deflecting blame and breaking its word when it comes to fighting climate change, as the simmering diplomatic row between the world's two biggest economies shifts to the environment.
The UAE has strongly condemned the terrorist attack, killing at least eight students and wounding 136 others. It took place on Tuesday in a religious school in the city of Peshawar, northern Pakistan, which claimed the lives of a number of innocent civilians, including children, and wounded others.