Budget shows ‘irreversible damage’ being caused to Pakistan: PTI

Published June 15, 2024
Opposition leader Omar Ayub Khan and PTI leader Raoof Hassan deliver a joit press conference in Islamabad on June 14. — PTI (screengrab)
Opposition leader Omar Ayub Khan and PTI leader Raoof Hassan deliver a joit press conference in Islamabad on June 14. — PTI (screengrab)

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) alleged on Friday that the incumbent government was causing irreversible damage to the country, citing the recently announced budget as evidence.

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub made these remarks during a press conference in Islamabad. He was flanked by PTI leader Raoof Hasan.

Ayub claimed that complete budget documents were not presented in the National Assembly and that the budget had a seven per cent deficit, the highest in Pakistan’s history. He also alleged that facilities provided to PML-N leaders and others in jail far exceeded those provided to Imran Khan.

He said on the one hand people were being arrested and imprisoned on nominal or frivolous charges, while on the other hand individuals facing serious allegations of embezzlement were being released.

Ayub shared his personal experience of being barred from entering a court in Sargodha, despite identifying himself as a member of the National Assembly. He said he told “them” that being part of the parliament, the MNAs were the state, rather than those who wanted to stop the lawmakers.

Protesters seeking Imran’s release held from outside press club

He told the media that those granted bail by the court were re-arrested. He said the anti-terrorism court judge in Sargodha wrote to the Lahore High Court chief justice about the alleged pressure and harassment tactics being used to prevent him from holding hearings.

Ayub lamented that Pakistan’s courts were not free, resulting in a lack of investment in the country despite the establishment of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC).

He also questioned the effectiveness of SIFC in attracting foreign investors, given the limited technical expertise available.

Referring to the alleged disparity in treatment, he said Nawaz Sharif and Shehbaz Sharif received daily visits from 60 to 70 people while in jail, whereas Imran was only allowed a 20-minute meeting with his lawyers and a monthly phone call with his children.

Ayub demanded that the PTI founding chairman be treated with the dignity afforded to a former prime minister and that his wife, Bushra Bibi, receive her rightful entitlements. He expressed hope for the ex-premier’s immediate release.

Protesters rounded up

Meanwhile, a number of PTI workers and leaders at a protest demonstration outside the National Press Club, demanding Imran’s release from jail, were picked up.

Police officers told Dawn that some 50 to 60 protesters, including PTI leader Amir Mughal, gathered outside the press club before police cordoned off the area. About a dozen of them, including Mr Mughal, were picked up and taken to a police station for further action while the rest managed to escape.

The Public Relations Officer of the Islamabad Capital Police, when contacted, claimed ignorance about the incident. While he said he would respond after getting relevant information, he did not provide it till the filing of this report in the late hours of Friday.

Munawer Azeem also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2024

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Afghan challenge
Updated 15 Jul, 2024

Afghan challenge

Foreign states must emphasise to the Afghan Taliban diplomatic recognition and trade relations all depend on greater counterterrorism efforts.
‘Complete’ justice
15 Jul, 2024

‘Complete’ justice

NOW that the matter of PTI’s reserved seats stands resolved, there are several equally pressing issues pertaining...
Drug fog
15 Jul, 2024

Drug fog

THE country has an old drug problem. While the menace has raged across divides of class and gender, successive ...
Miles to go
Updated 14 Jul, 2024

Miles to go

Some reforms agreed with the Fund are going to seriously impact economic growth and fresh investments, at least in the short term.
Iddat ruling
14 Jul, 2024

Iddat ruling

IT was a needless, despicable spectacle which only ended up uniting both conservatives and progressives in ...
Cricket shake-up
14 Jul, 2024

Cricket shake-up

SOMEONE had to take the blame and bear the brunt of the fallout from Pakistan’s disastrous showing at the T20 ...