LAHORE: The Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) on Tuesday criticised the government for failing to end poverty and boost agriculture.
A fact-finding report in this regard was released by PAT secretary general Khurram Nawaz Gandapur, south Punjab president Fayyaz Warraich and information secretary Noorullah Siddique.
The report claimed that duration of load-shedding had increased to 16 hours per day due to the government’s failed energy policy. “Due to excessive load-shedding, poverty and unemployment have increased,” the report said.
The report claimed that over the last three years, agriculture production had declined. “Due to electricity and gas load-shedding, around a million workers have lost their jobs. Mega projects are restricted to a few big cities. The government has failed to utilise the decline in oil prices in the international market to boost the economy. Revenue targets have not been met nor inflation been brought under control. To make things worse, the government has been taking huge loans from foreign agencies and domestic banks,” the report said. The PAT report claimed that in the next fiscal year, the federal government would be paying Rs1,360 billion, the highest amount in the history of the country, as mark-up on loans.
The report stated that the government was releasing false and self-serving survey findings about its popularity. “Such surveys prepared by government-paid employees cannot hoodwink and deceive the people of the country who are now well aware of the corruption and misdeeds of the rulers,” it said.
The PAT report said that the government’s claims to address poverty through budgetary allocations could not be credible until a new census was held. “How can the government make budgetary proposals without being aware of the actual population of the province or latest poverty? The government’s claims about eliminating corruption are false,” the report stated. PAT chairman Dr Tahirul Qadri said the government had failed to address key challenges. “The Punjab had a surplus budget till 2008. Its debt now stands at around Rs800 billion.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2016.