PML-N lawmakers tear into PTI's 'unrealistic' 100-day agenda
PML-N lawmakers on Tuesday criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf's (PTI) 100-day plan, calling it a "shoddy copy of PML-N's Vision 2025".
PTI on Sunday had unveiled its ambitious “agenda” outlining the party’s commitments for starting work within the first 100 days of forming its government after the 2018 general elections.
The salient features of the agenda are the expeditious merger of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bifurcation of Punjab province and reconciliation with estranged Baloch leaders.
"The plan is plagued with internal contradictions," said Interior minister Ahsan Iqbal, who was accompanied by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and Special Adviser to PM for Revenue Haroon Akhtar Khan, at a press conference today.
"It is not realistic in any way. Even if you want to copy something, you need brains to do it," he said, suggesting that PTI had attempted to copy PML-N's Vision 2025.
Iqbal lambasted the PTI for its "poor" performance in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, calling it a mere "presentation party".
"Pakistan will not be won by presentation; it will be won over by performance and PML-N has performed," Iqbal said, terming PTI Chief Imran Khan a "NATO commander — No Action, Talk Only".
He claimed that the PTI had no right to announce a 100-day plan unless the party presents the "scorecard" of the 1,825 days it has spent governing the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
He also mocked the PTI chief for starting a metro bus project in Peshawar "after ridiculing the Punjab government for doing the same".
"In 2014, [the KP government] asked the planning commission for permission to ask for a loan from the Asian Development Bank because they wanted to build a metro bus in Peshawar. It's been four years, and there is still no sign of the metro buses. They haven't even put up fences along the tracks," the interior minister said, adding that Peshawar "has been ruined due to the ongoing construction".
Cost of PTI's agenda
Finance Minister Ismail then went on to break down the cost of PTI's 100-day plan. The reason of breaking down the cost of PTI's proposed plan, Ismail insisted, was because the expenditure of the measures that the PTI plans to initiate will be borne by none other than the public.
The creation of a new province in South Punjab, which is one of the promises made by the PTI, will cost around Rs50 billion, Ismail claimed.
The 10 million jobs that the PTI promised to create for youth in the country will cost approximately Rs140 billion while reduction in energy costs would cost the national treasury Rs55 billion, according to Ismail.
The PTI had also announced an incentive package for exports, Rs100 billion, in contrast to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's Rs55 billion.
Adding up the cost of the promises made by the PTI in its 100-day plan, Ismail said that the total expenditure would be Rs1,598 billion "which means that in the next five years, Imran Khan will spend Rs8 trillion more than the government is spending now".
"Right now the outstanding debt of the federal government is Rs27 trillion. It would increase to Rs45 trillion [if PTI's plan is implemented]," Ismail said.
"The GDP deficit will increase by four per cent per year," the finance minister claimed. "Currently, the debt-to-GDP ratio is 4.9 per cent, which would rise to 8.9 per cent in Khan's era. As you can imagine, this will lead to inflation and raised prices."
He further questioned Khan's promise to increase tourism by converting government guesthouses into hotels.
"Do you really think that the reason behind decline in tourism is because of a lack of hotels?" Ismail asked wryly.