“Pakistan is still one of the cheapest countries compared to (many countries of) the world… they (opposition) call us incompetent, but the fact is that our government has saved the nation from all crises,” Khan said while addressing the inaugural ceremony of the International Chambers Summit 2022 arranged by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) in Islamabad. He said that oil prices in the country are still lower than other countries.
His claims coincided with a fiery debate over a finance bill that the incumbent government has introduced in the parliament. The bill is one of the requirements Pakistan has to meet under the programme agreed with the IMF in July 2019. If passed, the legislation will pave the way for the disbursement of a $1-billion tranche. The controversial finance bill included complete autonomy of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP).
As the matter was taken up for debate in the National Assembly, leader of the opposition and PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif questioned how it was possible for the country to be an atomic power on one hand and be holding a begging bowl on the other.
Assailing the government, the PML-N president said that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had drowned the country’s economy and was also endangering its security.
He called on the government to withdraw the controversial finance bill. “We have our political differences … but bring another bill and we will support that,” he said on the floor of the house. Shehbaz warned that the opposition would protest in the house and on the roads if the government tried to bulldoze such a bill. “They are selling out Pakistan’s economy and freedom for $1 billion,” Shehbaz warned.