PESHAWAR: A day after army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed concern over the country’s ‘sky-high’ debt, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari also accused the ruling PML-N of ruining the economy “now teetering on the brink of bankruptcy”.
“During the PML-N rule, the economy has plunged into deep crisis. The PML-N ruins economy every time it comes to power,” said Zardari on Thursday during a press conference at the residence of PPP’s Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) President Engineer Humayun Khan.
Provincial leadership of the party was also present on the occasion.
The former president laid stress on strengthening the economy and said though the country was faced with external and internal challenges, like every other country, the government needed to face the challenges head-on and help the country move forward.
“In 2008, when the PPP took over the government, the economic situation of the country was similar to the present one as the exports were hardly Rs19 billion and foreign remittances of the country were Rs09 billion.
“However, the PPP took the exports to Rs30 billion and the remittance to Rs13 billion despite the global financial meltdown. Now there is no meltdown, but the country is facing challenges which are needed to be tackled with bravery and effective strategies,” he said.
The former president said the situation could be changed if construction sector was declared an industry. “But the PML-N’s finance minister [Ishaq Dar] is no more than a munshi [accountant] and he cannot understand things,” he added.
Zardari also accused the PML-N of taking huge amount of foreign loans, which he believes, will be very difficult to pay back. He called for an economic emergency in the country to give some support to the ‘plummeting economy’.
Broadside at PTI
Talking about the K-P’s economy, Zardari promised that after coming to power, the PPP would once again grant a special economic package to the province for revival of its economy “which is shattered due to militancy”.
He accused the PTI, whose coalition government rules the K-P, of making false promises.
Zardari claimed that his government in Sindh had so far produced 150MW electricity but the performance of K-P government in this sector was zero despite tall elections claims about construction of hundreds of dams.
“Imran Khan is lost in a world of his own. For him the best person in the world is only [K-P] CM Pervez Khattak. Yesterday, I visited Khattak’s village, there was nothing but dilapidated infrastructure,” he said.
Talking about former military ruler Pervez Musharraf’s allegation that he was involved in the assassination of former PM Benazir Bhutto, Zardari said if Musharraf was brave enough, he should come to the country and face the courts.
“He [Musharraf] is an absconder. If he is so brave then why doesn’t he come back and face the charges?” Zardari questioned, adding why crimes scenes were washed away immediately after attacks on Benazir Bhutto in Karachi and Rawalpindi.
Zardari said his party favoured merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) with K-P. He said it was difficult to even reach Fata and a special economic package should be given to Fata and K-P for their revival.