Finance and Revenue Minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has said that the government is focusing on reducing foreign debt as it is a huge burden on the domestic economy, adding that the debt volume has increased due to the devaluation of the Pakistani rupee. The government is not borrowing extra.
Concluding the debate in the Senate, the Finance Minister said that it was unfair to hold the government responsible for the rise in current debts as it was also repaying loans taken by previous governments. “During the early days of the PTI government, our first priority was to save the country from the impending doom, and as a result, the government took fruitful decisions and reached a historic agreement with the International Monetary Fund,” he said.
He said that the present government has inherited a very precarious economic situation in 2018 and therefore has to reduce excessive government expenditure, increase revenue collection, introduce market-driven exchange rate, taxes. Strict financial sanctions had to be imposed to remove the huge concessions and discourage imports.
He said that the government had not taken a single penny from the State Bank of Pakistan during the last one and a half years, while no additional grant had been provided. He explained that since the outbreak of CoV-19, the government has taken a number of steps to facilitate the agricultural and construction sectors to accelerate economic recovery. “Because of the basic surplus, we don’t need loans if we don’t have to repay previous loans,” he said. The Minister said that now the combined effects of various progressive economic indicators show that the country is moving forward.
Industry and Production Minister Hamad Azhar has said that the government is taking concrete steps to reduce the prices of sugar and wheat in the country. Addressing the Senate, he said more sugar would be imported to ensure smooth and affordable supply. “In this regard, we will seek permission from the ECC to import an additional 5,000 tonnes of sugar,” Azhar said.
The Minister said that in order to ensure adequate supply of flour, the Punjab government extended the release of wheat in the flour mill in a timely manner, however at the same time the Sindh government restricted the release which resulted in increase in flour prices in Sindh. Happened He said that for the first time in history, sugarcane farmers were being paid the actual price of their crop due to the support price announced by the PTI government. The Minister said that petroleum prices in Pakistan are lower than in neighboring countries. Hamad Azhar said that during the PTI government, a large portion of foreign loans were used to pay interest on loans obtained by previous governments.
The Senate has strongly condemned the inhuman and degrading treatment meted out to Kashmiri leader Yasin Malik as his only crime is to speak out against the brutal Indian military occupation.
The Upper House passed a unanimous resolution tabled by opposition leader Raja Zafarul Haq.
The Senate took notice of the systematic detention and torture of political prisoners in Indian-occupied Jammu and Kashmir. He also noted the plight of Kashmir independence fighter Yasin Malik, who is languishing in a death cell in India’s infamous Tihar Jail, having spent 25 years of his life in Indian jails.
Expressing grave concern, the House said that new false charges were being leveled against Yasin Malik with a view to keeping him in jail indefinitely. The Senate urged the government to immediately take up the case of Yasin Malik and other IEJJ detainees, including Asia Andrabi, with the UN Human Rights Council and demand their early release from illegal detention. Launch a permanent global campaign to raise the issue internationally. Report to the House on the progress of the matter within 45 days, under a Senate resolution, including from foreign governments, parliamentarians and human rights organizations.
In the Senate on Monday, Quaid-e-Awan Dr Shehzad Waseem said that the PTI government would continue to work on its development agenda in line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He criticized the Ittehad-e-Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) of the opposition party, adding that the people rejected the PDM. “People have decided in favor of the PTI,” he said. He said that despite all the dramas of the opposition, the people of Gilgit-Baltistan had given a mandate to the PTI.
Earlier, opposition senators including Sherry Rehman, Pervez Rashid, Behrmand Khan Tangi, Abdul Ghafoor Haideri, Saleem Maniwala, Javed Abbasi, Sassi Palijo, Usman Kakar and others accused of rigging the GB elections. But criticized the government. He lamented that the country did not have the gas, the Covid 19 vaccine, which the government is doing. He said that the government was only attacking the opposition.
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