ISLAMABAD: The opposition in the National Assembly on Tuesday lashed out at the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) for allegedly accepting International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions for increasing gas, electricity and petrol prices.
The opposition rejected the ‘mini-budget’ presented by the government recently and claimed that marginalised classes had already been put under extra burden of taxes and inflation.
“Increase in the prices of gas... shows that the government has already accepted the IMF conditions,” said former foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar while speaking on the ‘mini-budget’.
She said the government, during its first 40 days, had made the life of the poor more miserable than ever and had given benefits to the elite in the mini-budget.
Ms Khar said Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to create 10 million jobs but soon after his party came to power, services of employees of state-owned organisations like the Utility Stores, National Highway Authority and Radio Pakistan were being terminated.
Responding to the opposition’s allegations, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak said not a single government employee was being removed from service. “Members on the opposition benches are lying as nothing is being done against the poor and suppressed class of society,” he added.
“No one is being removed from Radio Pakistan, NHA and Utility Stores. Similarly, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is not removing any teacher in the information technology sector,” he said.
In response to an allegation that the outgoing KP government had awarded many contracts to former PTI secretary general Jahangir Tarin, Mr Khattak, who has served as KP chief minister for five years, said not a single contract was given to Mr Tarin during his government in the province.
The defence minister said the previous KP government had brought reforms in police, education and health sectors in the province.
Mr Khattak agreed that a close relative of Prime Minister Imran Khan had been appointed as member of the board of governors of a state-run hospital.
“He is a world renowned Pakistani doctor based in the US. He does not receive salary and travels on his own expenses to attend meetings of the board,” the minister added.
He said the PTI came to power because of its performance and service of the people, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz was rejected in the recent general elections.
“You (PML-N) will face worse defeat in the next polls,” he maintained.
Mr Khattak spoke in response to a fiery speech delivered by Ibadullah Khan of the PML-N.
Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed rejected the opposition’s allegations and levelled counter-allegations on opposition parties, especially the PML-N.
Rao Ajmal of the PML-N said the government had offered nothing to the farmers in the mini-budget. “Nawaz Sharif had fixed Rs5 per unit electricity tariff for the agriculture sector to support farmers, but this government has increased it to Rs8.3 per unit,” he said.
He said the agriculture sector required 10 million bags of urea, but the government had allowed import of only 100,000 bags. He feared a huge reduction in wheat production due to shortage of urea.
Abdul Shakoor Shad of the PTI, who had defeated Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in the July 25 election in PPP’s stronghold Lyari, said the Sindh government had given nothing to his area where poor people had no basic facilities like water, electricity and gas and sanitation.
Shagufta Jumani of the PPP said her party’s government had established a hospital and two universities in Lyari.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd , 2018