–Dr Nafisa says PTI turned back on its promises, failed to provide relief to poor
–PPP leader expresses concerns over media gags, calls PTI a mockery of democracy
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party on Saturday released a white paper on the one-year performance of the government, dubbing it a “selected government’s one year of destructive policies, U-turns, broken promises, and dashed hopes”.
“Almost all promises made in the manifesto, in the speeches, or pledges to the people remain unfulfilled. Not only that, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) is disguising its lies in their characteristic U-turns on every promise ranging from not taking loans, to not going to IMF [International Monetary Fund], to implementing austerity,” said PPP Information Secretary Dr Nafisa Shah while addressing a press conference.
In order to silence the people, Dr Nafisa said Imran Khan’s one-year achievement was to gag the media, silence the judges, suppress protests and persecute the opposition by imprisoning its leaders.
She said Pakistan’s foreign policy had seen car driving, begging bowl missions, wishes for India’s Narendra Modi’s victory, ‘missed calls’, but all these had failed to elevate Pakistan’s status in the region or in the world.
“There is growing concern that like [former dictator] General Musharraf, selected Prime Minister Imran Khan may be making sudden U-turns on Pakistan’s foreign policy contours, with Imran Khan’s visit to the US only adding more fodder to these concerns,” she said.
She said the recent Indian unilateral action on Kashmir had met with an unsatisfactory diplomatic response by the government denting Pakistan’s longstanding and principled position on the issue of Kashmir.
“The PPP has called for an aggressive diplomatic offensive by Pakistan’s Foreign Office to expose Indian atrocities and human rights violations bordering on ethnic cleansing. The government is slow and uncertain,” she said.
She said prices of general and non-food items had dramatically increased during the PTI’s one year in office and inflation had soared from 5.84 per cent to 10.83 per cent.
“The inflation is now in double digits. The prices of all basic commodities like wheat and sugar have risen and in many cases sky-rocketed, forcing people in a vicious poverty trap,” she said.
Dr Nafisa said the PTI manifesto promised to make Pakistan fair and equal with their slogan ‘Do Nahin Ek Pakistan, Hum Sab Ka Naya Pakistan’; however, its policy of giving amnesty to the rich and imposing taxes on the poor and middle classes had delivered the exact opposite of the promise.
“The pain of the $6bn IMF programme has been mostly placed on the poor, and on the other hand an Rs20 billion fund has been injected into the stock market to protect the billions of billionaires from any volatility,” she said.
She said in its manifesto, the PTI promised a 10-point plan to revitalise the economy. “One year and three finance bills later, the economy is suffering from uncertainty and volatility and not a single policy of economic revival has seen realization,” she said.
She said the primary agenda of the 2018 PTI manifesto vowed to ‘transform governance’ and ‘bring accountability to the core of the government’.
“Almost every target — tax collection, growth, exports — were missed when they presented their third finance bill this year. In the outgoing fiscal year 2018-19, a massive Rs495bn shortfall in total revenues was recorded where targets were missed on all budgeted revenue heads except customs duty and FED. Yet, without a reform plan, the government has set an ambitious revenue target of a 32 per cent year-on-year increase when the actual collection in the outgoing fiscal year is 10 per cent less than the actual budget targets.”
She said when the PTI government took power, oil prices were Rs 95 per litre and today they were nearly 117 rupees per litre, an increase of 24 per cent . Ironically, the international oil prices have gone down by 10 per cent, she claimed.
She said under the garb of accountability, the government was making an absolute mockery of the growing democracy in Pakistan and targeting its political rivals and presenting itself as a classic/de facto martial law regime.
“Two former prime ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, are in jail and one former president Asif Ali Zardari is also in jail. In fact, the accountability process will clearly appear questionable if its radar is unable to catch Peshawar BRT and other projects,” she said.
The PPP leader said PTI government promised a transformative Karachi package, made an announcement of 165bn rupees but so far no practical work was seen on the ground.