ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari on Saturday continued attacks on the economic policies of the PTI government and said the only thing Prime Minister Imran Khan had struggled for 25 years, was to push every Pakistani under Rs175,000 debt.
He said in a statement that the PTI government had been running a “farcical campaign” of self-reliance and freeing Pakistan from the debt trap, it had so far borrowed more than $33 billion in foreign loans.
He pointed out that due to the burden of the mounting interest on these loans, Pakistan would have nothing left for development let alone defence, after paying government salaries.
Mr Bhutto-Zardari said while Imran Khan preached austerity, the PTI government had increased expenditures to the highest level in 28 years.
“Imran Khan had sold the people on his allegedly crack team of economists, but they ended up costing Pakistan Rs10 trillion more than the country’s income by creating the conditions for them to borrow on tough terms,” he said, adding that “even after the percentage increase, the circular debt in the power sector alone has gone up to Rs2.5tr and in the gas sector to over Rs350bn despite multiple increases in power and gas tariffs.”
The PPP chairman said the ‘puppet’ prime minister had declared not to take any loans, but had in fact paid 82 percent of the national exchequer, up to Rs2.5tr on loan repayments.
“PTI has created a new circular debt by not refunding Rs710bn in taxes to the people and traders,” he said.
He questioned how the regime could claim economic growth when it could just spend 40pc of its Rs650bn development budget by the 11th month of the fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Mr Bhutto-Zardari appointed Raja Pervez Ashraf as chief organiser of the PPP Central Punjab. A notification in this regard was issued from the Chairman’s Secretariat.
Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2021