ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan has asked his party workers and supporters to enthusiastically participate in a public gathering today (Sunday) at Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh where he will also give a roadmap to ‘Naya Pakistan’.
“[By our show of power] we will tell Nawaz Sharif that the nation stands with the judiciary and the JIT members,” Imran said in a recorded message released on Saturday.
The PTI and the Awami Muslim League of Sheikh Rashid are jointly organising the gathering as part of the Independence Day celebrations.
For the past many years, Sheikh Rasheed has been holding Independence Day celebrations at his Lal Haveli residence in Rawalpindi. However, the venue of the celebrations was shifted to Liaqat Bagh this year after Imran Khan had accepted an invitation from Sheikh Rashid to join his party in the celebrations.
Liaqat Bagh is located within NA-55, a Rawalpindi constituency from where Sheikh Rasheed was elected to the National Assembly.
PTI rebuts Nawaz’s claims
During his GT Road rally, deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif made a number of claims about his government’s performance during the past four years, especially about ending power outages, build-up of foreign exchange reserves and investment-driven growth.
PTI MNA Asad Umar, in a statement issued on Saturday, rebutted all the claims saying ground realities stated otherwise.
“Nawaz Sharif has gone around trying to build a narrative to rescue his sinking political ship. An important element of the narrative is that Pakistan has progressed tremendously under his lead in the last four years,” said Umar.
He said recently the State Bank of Pakistan had issued its weekly foreign exchange reserves data which showed a further $300 million decline in its reserves.
“This brings the decline in State Bank reserves in the last four weeks to $1.8 billion and the cumulative decline in last nine months since the IMF programme ended to $4.5 billion. Collapsing exports, galloping imports and stagnant remittances and foreign investment are causing this rapid decline in reserves despite heavy external borrowing resulting in record build-up of external debt,” said Umar, adding that a particularly disturbing feature of the foreign borrowing in the last one year was increasing reliance on short-term borrowing from commercial banks.
The PTI leader claimed that rapid worsening of external account was now ringing alarm bells in corridors of international financial institutions also, with recent reports suggesting that the World Bank had refused to lend for budgetary and balance of payments support due to deteriorating macroeconomic conditions.
“The consensus amongst independent economists is that Pakistan is headed towards another bailout package after the next general election,” Umar said, adding that the worst part was that the consequences of the disastrously-flawed economic policy were visible to anyone having understanding of the economy and “the rapid deterioration of the external account is no surprise at all”.
Talking about load-shedding, Umar said the shortfall of electricity had now exceeded 8,000 MW. “After making pre-election promises of eliminating load-shedding in six months, reality is that after more than four years in power the country is still facing massive load-shedding. The core problems of the sector remain unresolved even after four years.”
He said that it was urgently required that the government, instead of being in denial and trying to claim economic turnaround, should make amends and make changes to its failed economic policies.