PESHAWAR: Opposition members of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Monday painted a bleak picture of the country’s economy complaining about high inflation rate and joblessness.

As the opposition bashed the PTI government over economic crisis and poverty, the treasury tried in vain twice to obstruct the debate by pointing out lack of quorum.

Members of the ruling party blamed previous governments for the current financial mess in the country saying rulers of the past obtained unnecessary loans and the current government was paying for it.

The session was chaired by Deputy Speaker Mehmud Jan.

Referring to the reports of the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, International Monitory Fund and State Bank of Pakistan, Inayatullah of the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal said economic crisis would leave one million people jobless next year and four million in four years.

Bashes govt in assembly over poverty, inflation and joblessness

Mr Inayatullah, who was the senior minister in the last PTI government, claimed that Pakistan’s economic condition was worse than Nepal, Bangladesh and even Afghanistan’s and that it was fast deteriorating.

He said when the PTI formed the government in last August, US dollar’s value was Rs122 but it had gone up to Rs145 and was likely to reach Rs180 due to the government’s poor economic policies.

The MMA member also complained that the country’s economic growth rate had reduced to 3.5 per cent, while the PTI government had obtained Rs3 trillion loans in the last few months.

He said the Federal Board of Revenue faced 485 billion revenue shortfall, which would badly affect the upcoming federal budget.

Salahuddin Khan Mohmand of the ANP said the inflation rate had gone up to 9.41 per cent from eight per cent in February, the highest since 2013.

He said the PTI lawmakers should tell the house about economic crisis and what the government was doing to handle it.

“We need the right people in right places to steer the country out of economic crisis,” he said.

The lawmaker said the country’s exports had dropped to 11 per cent as the PTI formed government nine months ago.

He said the World Bank’s warning that the inflation rate would go up to 13.5 per cent suggested that Pakistani rupee would further devalue.

“These problems can be addressed but competent people are needed for it,” he said.

Nighat Orakzai of the PPP said the previous governments didn’t burden the people but the PTI government did so.

She alleged that the PTI looted the taxpayers’ money.

The PPP member complained about hike in petrol price and the crashing of stock market and blamed it on the government’s poor economic policies.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan is bent on making the people cry,” she said.

When the house began debate on inflation, Liaqat Ali of the PTI pointed a lack of quorum to interrupt it. However, the quorum was found to be complete.

Later, the PTI lawmakers left the house one by one to create the quorum issue.

Treasury member Jangraiz Khan insisted that the house lacked quorum prompting the chair to adjourn the session until Tuesday (today).

The house also condemned the Quetta attack against Hazara community.

The lawmakers said the state had failed to fulfil its primary responsibility of protecting public life and property.

The house also passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2019, which was tabled by law minister Sultan Mohammad.

Published in Dawn, April 16th, 2019