Country economy has been crippled: says Shehbaz while rejecting govt’s proposed budget

Following a week of continuous ruckus in the National Assembly (NA), the Leader of the Opposition in the NA and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday finally got an opportunity of delivering an uninterrupted speech – as the government and the opposition appear to have agreed to not interrupt the debate on the upcoming federal budget 2019-20.

“We want a charter of economy with the PTI…and our proposal was contemptuously rejected… time is not over yet as there can still be discussion on a charter of economy” he said.

“In this house, the charter of democracy was inked, and it is our desire that a charter of economy is also signed in the house… it is a first opportunity as the poor people have been protesting,” he said, while recalling PTI leaders claims on containers [during the 2014 sit-in] and comparing those with what he called the downfall of industries, and the economy and the increasing unemployment in the country today.

“The US dollar has spiked to Rs157, and by the time my speech is over, it could even reach Rs160…I want to inform how time [of the general public] has been wasted,” he said.

While expressing regret over “wasting days”, the opposition leader said: “The uproar in the last four days was against the traditions of this house, it does not add to its glory. This lays a heavy responsibility on the shoulders of the speaker. Even yesterday, request for the issuance of the production orders was made for members of the parliament who are absent for the proceedings of the house.”

He said that the menace of electricity load-shedding had been in place since [former president] Musharraf’s regime.

“Musharraf had claimed of laying a foundation stone of the Bhasha Dam by placing some machinery nearby the project site, but not even a dime was allocated for the project,” he said, adding that previously [prior to PML-N’s tenure], there had been a 20-hour load-shedding, and his remarks of eradicating the power outages within six months was quoted out of context.

“The PTI had created a chaotic environment in the country to make us fail, and efforts were made to cripple the state’s economy,” he said.

“The country won’t forget that when the Chinese president was scheduled to visit Pakistan, the PTI was requested to bring its sit-in at D-Chowk to an end within three days — but the PTI had not accepted and, as a result, the Chinese president’s visit was postponed.”

“The cancellation of tour of the Chinese president [at that time] was hostility of the PTI towards the country,” he said.

“The tour of the Chinese president that was scheduled for the year 2014, then happened in 2015, and subsequently China jointly with Nawaz Sharif commenced the project of the CPEC,” he added.

Shahbaz Sharif said Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China are included in the list of Pakistan’s best friends, and if Pakistan does not engage China effectively, then who would trust us [as a state].

“I will not waste your time, I am not telling stories. I will not say anything that is irrelevant or not based on fact. Earlier, the PTI had claimed that China was lending money to Pakistan and not helping us out, and later Asad Umar admitted of Chinese investment in the state…If one loses trust, it cannot be restored,” he went on to say.

The opposition leader said that in the five years [of PML-N’s tenure of the government], electricity production projects of 11,000 megawatts were launched, and it was not an easy task, whereas in KP, -6 megawatts of electricity was generated.

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