Defence Minister Pervez Khattak on Monday told the National Assembly that a country where there was no inflation would eventually stop [progressing] and termed the opposition's denigration of the government over rising inflation a “drama”, which, he said, “will not be lapped up by people anymore”.
Addressing the budget session, the defence minister, who is also former chief minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said inflation and people’s lives were correlated. “Take a look at Europe or the US and analyse if there had been any price cuts in basic commodities. Countries where there is no inflation will eventually stop [progressing],” he insisted.
He said he was also in the construction business for years [in a private capacity], adding “I struggle to find people in this work, and the opposition still claims of inflation.”
As the minister was insisting that inflation claims by the opposition negate reality, a member from the treasury benches chipped in that his district still had poverty, eliciting a burst of laughter in the House. The minister responded, “our MNA from Karak is saying his district has poverty…I accept it will be the case,” he added.
Khattak said that if people's lives were getting better and they had money to meet their expenses, it was an indication that the country was going forward.
“This is a strange phenomenon. I challenge you to take a survey with me. This is all ‘drama’ from the opposition, which people will no longer buy into it. Now people have become sensible,” he said.
The defence minister said it seemed that the opposition had a strategy to repeat its lies so many times that they may sound like truth, adding that the year 2023 would reveal the results of the “good work” done by Imran Khan.
He was of the view that the construction industry and other industries generate employment in the country. “In 2019, Covid-19 hit the world, and Pakistan's economy should have sank in its wake, but Imran Khan saved it and his measures yielded results.”
He lamented that no previous government had doled out incentives to the agriculture sector like the PTI did, adding that the opposition was insecure of the steps taken by Imran Khan for the poor.
Firing broadside at the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, Khattak said Shehbaz Sharif claimed no university was built in the KP. “I challenge him to have a debate with me and recount what he did in his 20 years and I will lay facts before the House about what I did in just five years.”
The minister said Shehbaz Sharif wouldn’t have been rejected by Punjab if his performance was really top notch. “Similarly, if our performance was bad, we would not be able to secure two-third majority in the province,” he added.
He recounted that when the PTI formed the government in KP in 2013, “there were terror activities, but we overcame the menace, and later we started with legislations like introducing Right to Information Act, Right to Public Service Act and many similar laws to ensure rights for our people.”
Referring to his construction business, the minister said it was easy for him to secure contracts worth billions of rupees using his authority, adding, “I didn’t do that because I am answerable to the public.”