ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has expressed serious concern over the financial crunch being faced by the public sector universities due to reduction in the budget of higher education by the government.
In a statement issued by the party on Sunday, the PPP chairman “condemned” huge cuts in the higher education budget compelling the public sector universities to take loans from the private sector to run their affairs.
He noted that 104 universities were passing through the worst-ever financial crisis in their history. Of the required budget of Rs158 billion, “the puppet government” was not ready to allocate even half of it, he said.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari pointed out that some of the most prominent universities of the country, including University of Peshawar, were not able even to pay salaries and pensions to their staff while research and higher education had been severely neglected.
PML-N seeks PM’s resignation to bring the country out of economic mess
“The puppet government has demolished the country’s economy under the very nose of its selectors, pushed millions below the poverty line, overseen sky-rocketing inflation and price-hikes, unleashed unemployment and dragged the country into a social, economic and political quagmire,” he said.
The PPP chairman called for immediate release of funds required for smooth functioning of public sector universities without any delay and expressed solidarity with the students, teachers and staff of the universities in the time of grave crisis.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb in a statement said the only way to bring the country out of the economic mess was the resignation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Now only Imran Khan’s resignation can pull the country out of these one-after-the-other crisis and economic disaster. If Imran had an ounce of empathy for the poor and suffering Pakistanis, he must step out of himself and his egomaniacal arrogance, accept his inability and incapacity and step down for the welfare of the people,” she said.
Ms Aurangzeb said this “circus of drama and lies” would definitely destroy the country beyond repair. “Running Pakistan is beyond this corrupt, incompetent, unqualified and lying government,” she said.
The PML-N spokesperson regretted that despite early warning by the PML-N, the prime minister had not ordered any search of the mills owned by Minister for National Food Security Khusro Bakhtiar and former PTI secretary general Jahangir Tareen so that they got enough time to move their hoarded stocks, wiped their records and covered the tracks of their crimes and corruption.
She said it had been 24 hours since she had demanded the search of the mills, “but because Imran Khan is implicit in this crime worth billions, he has not done anything”.
Ms Aurangzeb challenged Imran Khan to search and make public all record of sugar exported from sugar mills owned by Mr Tareen and Mr Bakhtiar, if he really wanted to expose who robbed the country and created the crisis.
“In just 16 months, Pakistan has become the most expensive and most impoverished country because of the most incompetent, the most corrupt and the most unqualified gang of looters, hoarders and liars led by Imran Khan,” she said.
Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2020