Pakistan’s opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif Wednesday attacked the Prime Minister Imran Khan government over the poor state of the economy, saying “we used to have healthy competition with India.”
Sharif, during the discussion over the budget after a week of ruckus in the National Assembly, said that due to the bad policies, regional countries like Afghanistan and Bangladesh were doing better than Pakistan in certain areas.
“Afghan currency is stronger than the Pakistani currency…Bangladesh’s per capita income is ahead of us,” he said.
He said that 15-20 years ago, Pakistan was in “healthy competition” with India as it was ahead of its neighbour in the textile sector.
The Imran Khan government presented the budget on June 11 but no discussion or debate could take place as members of the treasury created ruckus and interrupted the speech of the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.
Following a week-long ruckus, Sharif was allowed to initiate discussion on the budget.
He said that the present dismal situation of the economy was reflective of the collective failure of the successive government over the past seven decades.
Taking a swipe at the Khan’s government budget, Sharif said it would burden the common people with a new wave of inflation.
“We completely reject this budget. Budget is a sword of torture that is slitting the throat of the average man,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition accused the government for failing to stand up before the dictates of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which agreed to provide USD 6 billion just before the budget.
He also accused Khan for the 126-day-long sit-in in 2014 by his party, which led to delay in the visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping and the launch of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Sharif gave credit of adding 11,000 megawatt electricity (with China’s help) to the national grid by the Pakistan People’s League-Nawaz (PML-N) government, saying it helped in decreasing the power outages in the country.
On Khan’s announcement about initiating a probe into the loans taken by successive governments in the last 10 years, he said that any probe should start from the military dictator Pervez Musharraf’s regime.
Sharif was not allowed to discuss the budget by the noisy treasury members who were angry at the disturbance created by the Opposition when Prime Minister Khan presented the budget in the house on June 11.
The disturbance forced the Speaker to prorogue the house since last week. The truce was finally reached in a meeting between the treasury and opposition members during which both sides agreed to listen calmly the speeches of rival members.
The formal speech by the Opposition leader is a tradition to start the regular debate on the budget before it is passed by the National Assembly.