ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has urged the government to renegotiate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) while keeping the people’s interests supreme.
“If you have to negotiate with the IMF, we agree that you must, but while doing it, you should at least not compromise on the economic independence of the country, rather protect the rights of the people,” the PPP chairman said while talking to reporters outside the Parliament House here on Wednesday.
He said the manner in which this “incompetent team” had carried out the negotiations with the IMF was wrong. He said the way the economy was being run and this IMF programme had been implemented, “they are squeezing the life out of our economy”.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said there had been no positive impact because of the whole IMF programme, regretting that the main focus of the present government was to pay back the money to the IMF.
Says country’s economic independence, people’s interests be kept supreme
“I respect the finance minister (adviser) very much as he always talks with respect but he is not an elected representative,” he said. He said instead of quoting the reports of the IMF and the World Bank, the adviser should ask the people of Pakistan if they believed that Pakistan’s economy was progressing.
The PPP chairman said that during his speech in the National Assembly on the issue of price hike, he had quoted the official statistics to highlight the wrong economic policies of the government, but “what did we get as an answer, we got foul language”.
“This government does not talk on issues. It gets personal, and it cannot tolerate criticism,” he added.
Responding to a question, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that being a democratic politician, he believed that if the government had to leave, then new elections would have to take place as they would not accept any other system.
In response to another question, he said when Dr Hafeez Shaikh had negotiated with the IMF on behalf of the PPP government, they did not listen to the demands of the IMF. He claimed that the IMF had called for increasing the power tariff, but the government at that time had refused to do so as it did not want to compromise on the economic rights of the people.
Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020