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'Ishaq Dar attempting to invent new economics': PTI slams PML-N's 'economic misrule'

'Ishaq Dar attempting to invent new economics': PTI slams PML-N's 'economic misrule'

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday slammed the PML-N's "four years of economic misrule" at a press conference in Islamabad, saying that Pakistan's economy has "never been worse" than it is today.

Flanked by MNA Asad Umar, Khan accused Finance Minister Ishaq Dar of being "Pakistan's economic hitman", and claimed that the country's economic performance during the PML-N era had been worse as compared to the eras of former presidents Pervez Musharraf and Asif Zardari.

The PTI leaders said that although the government claims the economy is progressing, investment is falling whereas debt is on the rise. They pointed out various economic indicators during a slideshow which they said was based on the government's own data.

Umar accused Dar of attempting to "invent new economics".

"Investments have always fallen whenever Nawaz Sharif has come into power... and this time they are even lower than Zardari's era despite China-Pakistan Economic Corridor investments," Umar claimed.

Asad Umar claimed that a record Rs10.8 trillion had been borrowed by the PML-N in its term, which he said was considerably higher than the Rs8tr borrowed during the PPP's five-year rule, and the approximate figure of Rs2.2tr borrowed under Musharraf.

Umar added that a large chunk of the borrowing is external debt.

"Nawaz Sharif spent Rs2.7 million per day on foreign trips courting investment," Imran Khan claimed. However, investment decreased during the PML-N's term, he added.

"Investors neither from inside nor outside the country are investing" because of rampant corruption, Khan alleged.

"This is resulting in an increase in unemployment," he said.

"Our exports have gone down from $25 billion to $21bn, while exports in India and Bangladesh have increased in the same period," Umar claimed.

A slide showed reporters appeared to show only a slight increase in India's exports between 2013 and 2017, whereas Bangladesh's exports registered approximately $8bn growth over the period.

Umar, pointing to an "alarming current account deficit and depletion of foreign exchange reserves, claimed that the country was moving towards another bailout package.

Tax reserves, Umar said, were only increasing on the back of increased indirect taxes while direct taxes had registered a decline.

"It is difficult for them to collect taxes from the rich because they have put a corrupt person in charge of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR)," Khan alleged.

"They have done this to protect their own money but other powerful people also benefit from it," he added.

The two leaders also alleged that the country had the most expensive electricity and gas in the region, with circular debt also on the rise.

Although the PPP left Rs480bn in circular debt which was paid off by the PML-N within the first few weeks of its tenure, the figures have again crossed Rs400bn, the PTI leaders claimed.

Umar also claimed that the power shortfall has increased to over 6,000 megawatts despite tall claims by the government.

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