PPP senator slams govt over debt relief claim

Updated 22 Apr 2020

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“Why has Pakistan failed to formally ask G20 for debt relief?” asks Sherry Rehman. — Dawn/File
“Why has Pakistan failed to formally ask G20 for debt relief?” asks Sherry Rehman. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party’s parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman assailed the federal government on Tuesday for “spreading misinformation” about debt relief and not applying formally for the G20 programme concerned.

“Why has Pakistan failed to formally ask G20 for debt relief?” she asked, adding that it was alarming that the government was misleading the public, especially during these testing times.

Contrary to claims made by the federal government about securing a substantial debt relief, International Monetary Fund resident representative Teresa Sanchez has said that Islamabad had not made an official request to G20 countries for repayment relaxation.

“Pakistan should have officially requested G20 nations for debt relief. It is important to point out that only those countries can avail debt relief that make official requests to the G20. In Pakistan’s case, this never happened,” Senator Rehman said.

“When no official request was made to the G20 nations for debt relief, then why is misleading news circulating in the media that Pakistan will secure $12 billion worth of relief? This will not only cause chaos and confusion inside Pakistan but also embarrass [the country] in the eyes of the international community,” she said.

The PPP senator also censured the Centre over its attitude towards parliament. “The federal government had announced emergency relief packages without consulting parliament. Why is the federal government not taking the parliament into confidence? Pakistan’s fiscal position is deteriorating at an alarming rate and parliamentary oversight has become more imperative than ever.”

Commenting on Pakistan’s deteriorating economic condition, she said: “What is even more alarming is that Pakistan’s public debt has already soared to Rs41 trillion, which is almost equivalent to 93 per cent of our GDP. Before it’s too late, the federal government urgently needs to revise its macroeconomic policies.”

Meanwhile, PPP secretary general Nayyar Bukhari and chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s spokesman Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar have demanded a cut in petrol prices.

Published in Dawn, April 22nd, 2020