- Govt’s reply says foreign exchange reserves standing at $13.9b on August 15 have come down to $13.53m on September 2
- PAT asks court not to intervene in political matters
The federal government Thursday informed the Supreme Court that the sit-ins in Islamabad have led to losses worth Rs 547 billion to the national exchequer.
Attorney General of Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt, while submitting the government’s reply in the Supreme Court, said the protests have so far caused immense damage to the social, economic and political output of Pakistan, including an exchange rate depreciation of 4.3 per cent, debt burden of Rs 228 billion and stock value decline worth Rs 319 billion.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court had asked the AGP to submit details of financial losses as well as losses to public property, killings, and expenditure on law and order in lieu of the protests in Islamabad.
“Unfortunately, the international image of Pakistan has been considerably shattered. Many incoming and outgoing visits of heads of states, delegations and other important events have either been cancelled or indefinitely postponed. Furthermore, the loss of life and destruction of property (public and private) has been overwhelming,” the government said in its reply.
The attorney general said that political uncertainly in the country had an adverse affect on the financial markets of Pakistan, which has led to rupee depreciation and a decline in the foreign exchange reserves of the country. “The foreign exchange reserves standing at $13.9 billion on August 15, 2014 have come down to $13.53 million on September 2, 2014.”
Further, the reply said, stock markets have also witnessed a decrease in their index’s with stock value declining to about Rs 319 billion.
“As a result of the current blockade of the Constitution Avenue, only an average 40 per cent to 45 per cent of employees working in FBR have not been able to attend their office since August 16.”
The reply also revealed that the total amount spent on law enforcement, excluding regular allocation, stood at Rs 357.6 million, including an additional demand of Rs 130.616 million received on August 29. Further, the loss reported by the Trader Association Islamabad stood at Rs 10 billion.
According to estimates of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), damage to state property has led to losses worth Rs 5 million as per an initial assessment.
In addition, the government said, the attack on PTV headquarters led to equipment being damaged or stolen. The government said that to date, a police vehicle has been set ablaze and 17 other vehicles have been damaged.
The government also revealed that 717 persons have been injured, including 202 police personnel, and three persons have lost their lives so far. Further, the government has deputed 26,973 police and other law enforcement agencies, rangers and army officials to ensure the safety and security of citizens.
“The party workers of PTI and PAT have created state within state by having taken the law into their hands,” said the government in its reply, while expressing apprehension that protests have rendered the country vulnerable to terrorist attacks and other security-related risks.
Attaching copies of speeches by Imran and Qadri, the reply said both leaders have threatened to shut down Pakistan, overthrow the government, lockdown the government machinery and openly revolt against the government.
The government also contended that both parties violated their No Objection Certificate (NOC) by entering the Red Zone, making their protests illegal and unlawful. Further, a total of 13 FIRs have been registered so far by the government against individuals who have created threatened the law and order situation in the country, the reply said.
SC SHOULD NOT INTERVEVE IN POLITICAL MATTERS:
Meanwhile, the PAT lawyer requested the court to dismiss a petition relating to extra-constitutional steps and sit-ins in the federal capital, saying that the court should not intervene in political matters as it violated the Constitution.
Earlier on Wednesday, the apex court had directed leaders of political parties to submit their suggestions to end the ongoing political stalemate during the hearing of the plea against protests by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and PAT.
PAT’s counsel Advocate Ali Zafar submitted the party’s response which stated that the court should order the government to respond to the demands of protesters and that judicial intervention in electoral matters violated the Constitution.
The response said that as per the Constitution, sensitive election matters were the responsibility of the Election Commission of Pakistan and that it was the job of the commission to expose electoral frauds.
The reply also underscored that it was the government’s responsibility to end the crisis which can be done through dialogue.
Moreover, the response said that the Parliament should play a role in resolving the political deadlock, adding that it should not step in the government’s shoes.
PAT respects the Parliament but also holds the right to object to its workings and genuinely wants a solution to the crisis, the answer said.
The response also stressed that it was the fundamental right of the party to hold protests. A five-judge larger bench, headed by Chief Justice Nasirul Mulk, will hear the case on Friday (today).
Earlier on September 2, the apex court had issued notices to all parliamentary parties as requested by Zulfiqar Naqvi who had petitioned that all parties be summoned so that the deadlock can be resolved.