ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president and former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said after passage of the controversial State Bank of Pakistan (Amendment) Bill 2021 from the Senate, the SBP governor would become so much powerful that even the parliament would be requiring his nod for doing legislation regarding affairs of the bank.
Speaking at a news conference with party leaders Miftah Ismail and Marriyum Aurangzeb at the PML-N Secretariat, Mr Abbasi said the SBP officials would become so much independent and powerful that they would not be answerable to the parliament, the government, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
He said whenever the PML-N would come to power, it would “reverse” the SBP law through an ordinance as it was against the country’s ‘economic sovereignty’.
He alleged that through the SBP law, the government was going to make the state bank an “agent” of the International IMF (International Monetary Fund) which was not acceptable to his party.
Mr Abbasi said, the government had increased the tenure of the SBP governor, his deputies and the members of the board of directors from three years to five years.
The PML-N leader again claimed that the government had passed the most controversial bill from the National Assembly with the help of ‘telephone calls’ and “WhatsApp” messages received by the ruling coalition legislators.
The SBP bill seeking to grant autonomy to the country’s central bank was among 16 bills which the government had rushed through the National Assembly bulldozing the parliamentary procedure on Jan 13.
Mr Abbasi said the government had trampled upon all parliamentary rules, conventions and traditions and did not allow representatives of the people to discuss the SBP autonomy bill in the National Assembly. He, however, asked the government to allow a debate on the bill which is yet to be passed by the Senate.
The PML-N leader alleged that the government had relaxed the criteria for the appointment of the members of the SBP board of directors, fearing that the board would now comprise beneficiaries of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI).
Mr Abbasi evaded a question regarding the claim of Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry that at least four leaders of the PML-N had met ‘someone’ and told him that they should be considered if their party supremo Nawaz Sharif did not suit them.
Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2022