ISLAMABAD: With panic gripping the ruling party, the government on Sunday called back Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood from Dubai to prepare an official response to Pakisan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) white paper on the country’s economic performance.
Dr Masood was visiting Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to hold talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the fourth review of $6.7 billion bailout programme.
The government’s decision to prioritise its response to PTI’s white paper over ongoing talks with the IMF highlights the cost of political instability for the economy.
Dr Masood was leading Pakistani delegation that was engaged in technical talks with the foreign lender ahead of policy level discussions. The successful completion of the review and subsequent approval by the IMF’s Board will help the country secure next loan tranche of over $550 million.
According to sources in Ministry of Finance, the government wanted to respond to PTI’s white paper ahead of the party’s planned long march, slated for August 14.
Ministry of finance spokesman Rana Assad Amin was not available for comment.
Sources revealed that the government also called many officials of the ministry of finance who were on vacations to resume office in an effort to facilitate the secretary finance during the mammoth task of drafting a comprehensive response.
PTI chief Imran Khan has accused the PML-N government of destroying the economy. According to the PTI’s white paper, in the first year of the PML-N government the inflation rate was at its highest when compared with five years of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)’s government.
In its paper, the PTI further alleged that foreign investment decreased by 13% while power prices increased up to 80% without decreasing the duration of load-shedding. It added that the PM’s residency in Raiwind is a ‘load shedding free’ area. The economic growth was the lowest in four years.
The party further accused that the government caused Rs9 billion losses by selling shares of United Bank Limited at low rates.
Imran also alleged that billions of rupees in funds have been transferred into foreign accounts and given to Nawaz Sharif’s son Hussain Sharif via categorising it as gift. Nawaz Sharif has spent Rs680 million on his foreign visit while results are nil, Imran said.
The white paper termed the escalation of Rs27 billion funds in Nandi Pur Power Project also as corruption.
The PTI leader also stated that PML-N’s signature Metro Bus Project was initiated to award a Sharif family relative in Turkey.
While the ministry of finance will provide a detailed response soon, it said in its initial comment that the white paper on economy released by PTI chairman distorted facts with the aim to mislead people. The facts have been misrepresented and unverified allegations have been included in the pack of lies, said the ministry of finance.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th,2014.
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