PESHAWAR: The opposition parties, including Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), have rejected the government’s $6bn bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund, declaring it a move to sell the country’s sovereignty.

PML-N provincial secretary information Ikhtiar Wali Khan told Dawn that the incompetent PTI government had wasted many months by not deciding about whether to obtain IMF loan or not fearing strong public reaction to the subsequent unprecedented price hike.

He said though the government had yet to disclose the bailout package details, some of its points shared with the media showed that the rulers had begun playing with the country’s future and independence.

The PML-N leader said the PTI had brought the country on the brink of economic disaster within just nine months of coming to power as it had no plans to address grave economic problems.

PPP, PML-N leaders insist PTI has no plans to address economic problems

He said the people suffered from high inflation but the rulers enjoyed perks and privileges. “The experiment of Naya Pakistan has miserably failed,” he said.

Qaumi Watan Party leader and former senior minister Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao told reporters that the PTI government had ‘mortgaged’ the country’s sovereignty with the IMF as it had resorted to anti-people policies to borrow foreign loan. He said the government had compromised the country’s interests for nominal economic gains.

“The government should inform the people about the IMF loan’s conditions,” he said. Mr Sikandar said new taxes and higher prices of consumer goods and gas and electricity would stress out the people.

He said the appointment of an IMF economist as the State Bank of Pakistan governor had proven that the ruling PTI was incompetent and therefore, it had surrendered its authority to run the country’s economic affairs to the IMF.

PPP Mardan district president Nawabzada Aurangzeb Khan Hoti criticised the Pakistani government for not consulting the nation before availing itself of the IMF bailout package.

He told reporters here on Monday that by appointing IMF’s men to key posts of the country, the prime minister had acknowledged his inability to manage the country’s affairs. Mr Hoti said the PTI, which used to claim that it would break the begging bowl after coming to power, had turned the nation into a beggar.

“The government has made the life of common man miserable,” he said.

The PPP leader said the recent changes in the federal cabinet showed that the entire team of the PTI government, including the premier, was incompetent.

He said PM Imran Khan was a cricket player and he had never been a politician.

“The premier should step down immediately,” he said. Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan said his party had rejected the IMF bailout package considering it to be a package to ‘sell Pakistan’.

He told reporters here that the PTI government was going to impose Rs700 billion new taxes, which would cause the prices to escalate.

Published in Dawn, May 14th, 2019

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