PTI reiterates demand for early elections

Published: October 10, 2017
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PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood. PHOTO: EXPRESS

PTI leader Shafqat Mehmood. PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) reiterated its demand for early elections in the country. The party said there are several internal and external challenges existing in the absence of an effective government.

“At present, all estate machinery is busy saving former prime minister Nawaz Sharif from prosecution,” said PTI’s Central Information Secretary Shafqat Mehmood. He was speaking at a press conference held at the party’s Chairman Secretariat on Saturday.

“Pakistan is the only country in the world where the government is trying to protect and prosecute a corrupt man at the same time.”

He claimed that current Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said that neither he nor others consider themselves as prime minister. “The ruling party still believes Nawaz is the real premier of the country,” he maintained.

Mehmood said even after being in government for four years, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) failed to deliver to the masses. He added that due to the bad governance, mismanagement and ad hoc policies of the ruling party, Pakistan was facing very serious external challenges. “The country has tense relations with its neighbouring countries. The United States Joint Chief of Staff has said that Pakistan has been given one more chance to get rid of terrorists.”

He said the US has also lent its voice to the anti-China Pakistan Economic-Corridor (CPEC) sentiment, saying the route was passing through a disputed territory. Mehmood added that an Indian Air Force Commander earlier said that his country prepared plans to target Pakistan’s nuclear assets. At the same time, the BRICS Summit strongly condemned terrorist groups and pointed that some of them are in Pakistan, including the Haqqani Network which was specifically targeted by the US.

The information secretary alleged that there were several internal challenges, including economic ones due to the mismanagement of Federal Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar.

“Foreign exchange reserves of the country have fallen to a new low of $14 billion and are insufficient to cover even three months of imports, he said. “A serious threat of default is looming large on the horizon because of the unprecedented internal and external borrowing of Rs83 billion as against Rs61 billion in 2013.”

The PTI leader said the country’s exports have shrunk by $6 billion and are hovering at around $21 billion owing the poor economic policies of the present government.

He highlighted that country’s imports have risen to $53 billion in the last financial year, widening the trade gap to a historic $32 billion in a year. “Pakistani currency is being artificially kept afloat against the greenback otherwise it should have declined by 25% in the present economic situation.”

Mehmood said the textile industry was passing through the most difficult time as hundreds of mills had already been closed down, leaving hundreds and thousands of industrial workers jobless.

He said that the entire state machinery was busy saving a deposed premier. “How could the government function with a shadow or virtual premier?” he asked. “Those who represent the state (ministers) are following a corrupt man as if he is a conquering hero.”

Published in The Express Tribune, October 8th, 2017.

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