KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Friday announced challenging the ordinance to grant autonomy to the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) aimed at targeting inflation rather than economic growth, calling it an International Monetary Fund (IMF) agenda.

While addressing a press conference, the PPP chairman said the government move would make the SBP unaccountable to the people of Pakistan through the parliament or the judiciary as it would only follow the dictates of the IMF.

“The PTI government wanted to make economic decisions through ordinances and was handing over the country’s institutions to the IMF,” he said.

“If the SBP followed the IMF policy, it would be an attack on the economic sovereignty of the country, so the PPP would challenge the ordinance in court. The economic crisis that the people of Pakistan are facing is due to the government of Imran Khan, which has plunged us into a tsunami of inflation.”

During the past three years, he said, the government had changed two finance ministers but not the policy of giving relief to the rich while fleecing the poor. Inflated gas, electricity and petrol prices had made everything more expensive, he added.

While reiterating his stance over the Pakistan Demo­cratic Movement (PDM), the PPP chairman hoped it would continue on consensual agenda. “Maulana Fazl Rehman, I believe, would not support just one party in the PDM,” he replied to a query about the future of the PDM. “I was told that past history of the PPP and the PML-N is such that it is difficult to keep the two parties together, but despite this he has taken all the parties together in the last three years. We do not want infighting in the opposition to benefit the government in any way as we want to give tough time to the government from the PDM platform.”

When asked about a possible change in the federal cabinet, Mr Bhutto-Zardari said that a change in the cabinet was a good thing but the PM always remained unquestioned during all failures of the government.

“Imran Khan has never been ready to take any responsibility. Whenever there is a problem, they turn someone into a scapegoat. Latest example we see of Special Assistant Nadeem Babar, who was made a scapegoat after the petrol crisis,” he said.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2021

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