PTI govt.’s 4th year to bring prosperity: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD, Jan 21 (APP): Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday expressed confidence that the fourth year of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government would prove to be the year of national progress, prosperity and development as all economic indicators were moving in the right direction.

Speaking in the National Assembly, he said, ”in first two years, we have focused on stability, PTI’s third-year belonged to recovery and the fourth year would be the year of progress, prosperity and development of the country.”

He said all the international independent financial institutions including World Bank, Bloomberg and the Economist were saying that Pakistan GDP was touching 5.37 per cent GDP growth rate.

Qureshi said the national economy did not only register sustainable growth but also the country’s exports, remittance and foreign exchange reserves witness an upward trend.

He hoped that the country’s exports would cross $30 billion benchmark and the foreign remittance remain above $ 30 billion during the current fiscal year.

The minister said the past regime of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) achieved 5.4 per cent growth during its last year but the flow of circular debt was around Rs 450 billion. Besides, a sharp decline was witnessed in the country’s exports highest ever current account deficit of $ 20 billion.

He said the PTI government not only achieved 5.37 percent growth rate during its third year of in power but also the current account deficit remained below $ 2 billion. The foreign remittances witnessed a sharp increase and the revenue collection also registered a 35 per cent increase during the last year, he added.

He said the government had to take “tough decisions” to stabilize the economy. Owing to the government’s prudent policies the country’s reserves, exports witnessed an increase and international rating agencies upgraded Pakistan’s economic outlook, he added.

He said agriculture sector registered 3.5 per cent growth, large scale industry 7.8 per cent and services sector 5.8 per cent during the period.

He said PTI government inherited a fragile and weak economy, however it not only put the economy on right track but also achieved all financial targets despite numerous challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The minister said prices of various commodities witnessed increase at the international market resulting in inflation which was also a challenge for the government. No doubt there is inflation which has affected the middle class, particularly salaried ones, he said, however, the government would provide them relief.

He said that debt to GDP had also improved; and it came down from 83.3 percent to 71.3 percent.

Qureshi said the per capita income in Pakistan was at around $1,457 which had now jumped to $1,666, indicating that the purchasing power of people had also increased considerably.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that fertilizer was available at cheaper rates in Pakistan as compared to international markets. He said despite, the gas shortage, the supply of the gas was provided to fertilizer factories.

About the depreciation of rupees against dollar, he said the currency of various countries including Turkey, Argentina Columbia, Japan and European Union had depreciated due to international factors.

About the Foreign policy, he said the present government had given a new direction to the country’s foreign policy from geo-politics to geo-economics for the welfare of people.

About the Rana Shamim case, he said, Islamabad High Court (IHC) had indicted former Gilgit Baltistan (GB) chief judge Rana Shamim under contempt of court law on account of his allegations against ex-Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar and rejected his (Rana Shamim) stance.

He viewed that it was noted by the IHC that prime objective of the allegations was to influence the decision of the court. He said that the court also noted that it had also damaged the credibility of the court.

Giving the background, the minister said that on one hand hearing of the high profile cases linked with the leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League started in the court, and the same time a story based on the affidavit appeared in media.

He said the affidavit alleged that the then chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had issued instructions to the sitting judge of the Islamabad High Court not to give bail to the leadership of the PML-N till completion of the election process in the country.

He said the case came into the court, delaying tactics was being used as around 15 adjournments had been taken in this case.

The minister said that it was surprising that the judge had been alleged in the affidavit was not part of that bench. “The authenticity of the fact can be judged from the fact,” he added.

He said facts were before the public that the affidavit was notarized in which city and whose presence. He said an audiotape also came to the surface which was later proven as fake.