Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

PPP issues white paper on PTI government performance during one year

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ISLAMABAD (DNA) –

A PPP Report on One Year (2018-2019) Performance of PTI Government

Prime Minister Imran Khan took oath on the 18th of August 2018 after yet another controversial and violent elections leading Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to greet him as the ‘Selected Prime Minister.” One year down the road, in August 2019, in a very selected PTI government, Pakistan is more unsafe, unstable, more economically vulnerable, and internationally weak.

None of the slogans of the selected Prime Minister’s bombastic Tabdeeli or change have seen the light of the day.  And not only its 100 days plan, but also its theatrical plan released after 100 days of its tenure remains incomplete, patchy and just a pipe dream.

Almost all promises made in the manifesto, in the speeches, or pledges to the people remain unfulfilled. Not only that, PTI is disguising its lies in their characteristic U-Turns on every promise ranging from not taking loans, to not going to IMF, to implementing austerity etc.

In order to silence the people, Imran Khan’s one-year achievement is to gag the media, silence the judges, water-canon citizens daring to protest and persecute the opposition by imprisonment of its leaders. In fact, that is perhaps the only sinister implementation of his promise – of witch hunting the political leaders in the name of accountability.

It is no exaggeration to say that instead of Tabdeeli what we are witnessing is Tabahi – or disaster – of epic proportions. In any case the promised tsunami can only bring destruction. The list of PTI’s failures is increasing by the day and in every sphere ranging from domestic politics, to parliamentary performance, from economy to social policy, from federal politics to local politics, the country is only sliding into miss-governance and chaos.

The lower and middle classes have been forced into abject poverty, unemployment and an ever growing burden of rising fuel, utilities and basic food items’ prices has spread despondency and depression among the people.

 

  1. Tabahi of Economy: Ek Nahin Do Pakistan

The PTI manifesto promised to make Pakistan fair and equal with their slogan Do Nahin Ek Pakistan. However PTI policy of giving amnesty to the rich and imposing taxes on the poor and middle classes has delivered the exact opposite of the promise.The pain of the 6bn dollar IMF program has been mostly placed on the poor, and on the other hand a 20 billion fund has been injectedinto the stock market to protect the billions of the billionaires from any volatility.

In its manifesto, the PTI promised 10-point plan to revitalize the economy, including jobs, houses, reenergizing industry and small enterprises, and putting on track the PSEs. One year and three finance bills later, the economy is suffering from uncertainty and volatility and not a single policy of economic revival has seen realization. On the contrary, there is not only no plan, the government has unleashed a reign of terrifying inflation on the people by slapping price hikes of essential utilities upon them. The economic mismanagement is a story of absolute Tabahi from poor economic growth and missed targets, to devaluation of the rupee and loss of stock market value, and the ever-increasing price of oil and utilities like electricity and gas.

Poor Economic Growth: A report by a UN Commission puts Pakistan’s GDP growth at 4.2 per cent in 2019 and 4 per cent in 2020 compared to Bangladesh’s 7.3 pc, India’s 7.5 per cent, and the Maldives’ and Nepal’s 6.5 per cent each in 2019. The pre-election claims of PTI experts having conducted thorough studies of the country’s economic problems and thrashed out solutions have turned out to be a part of an elaborate hoax. In fact this year’s growth is estimated to even less than 4 per cent.

Missed Targets: The primary agenda of the 2018 PTI manifesto vowed to ‘transform governance’ and ‘bring accountability to the core of the government’. Almost every target – tax collection, growth, exports were missed when they presented their 3rd finance bill this year. In the outgoing fiscal year 2018-19, a massive Rs495 billion shortfall in total revenues was recorded where targets were missed on all budgeted revenue heads except customs duty and FED. Yet, without a reform plan, the government has set an ambitious revenue target of a 32 percent year-on-year increase when the actual collection in the outgoing fiscal year is 10 percent less than the actual budget targets.

Austerity – an eyewash: In 2018-19, budgeted expenditures witnessed a Rs449 billion surge despite the adoption of austerity measures by the government. But austerity in tandem with poor fiscal management seems to have cost the country its developmental progress largely, where the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) saw a 32 percent decrease during the outgoing fiscal year, and ‘General Public Services’ expenditure registered a 21 percent increase in the backdrop of increase in debt servicing, driven by abrupt borrowing and a devalued rupee. Expenditure on ‘Economic Affairs’ witnessed a 75 percent increase than budgeted while ‘recreation, culture and religion’ expenditures saw an increase of 14 percent during the year.

Cumulatively, the impact of missed revenue targets and inflated expenditures has resulted in a 27 percent increase in fiscal deficit in 2018-19. Is this an indication of ill-planned austerity, poor fiscal management and weaker oversight and control over expenditures or are previous regimes to be blamed for this? The treasury benches need to explain these arbitrary trends in spending and collection trends in light of the promises made under the banner of tabdeeli.

Increasing share of indirect taxes in the revenue pool: When in opposition, former finance minister Asad Umar was one of the most vocal voices in parliament against the growing incidence of indirect taxation over the past decade and its socioeconomic impact. In its first budget, the government plans to raise 64.3 percent of revenues via indirect taxes in comparison with 62.3 percent in the revised budgeted estimates for 2018-19, a 2 percent increase from the previous year. The resulting impact coupled with the growing inflation and the change in income tax structure will impact the middle and lower classes even more adversely than in the past.

Cut throat rise in oil process:When PTI government took power, oil prices were Rs 95 per litre. Today they are nearly 117 rupees per litre which is about 24 per cent increase. Ironically international oil prices have gone down by 10 per cent.

 

In its outlook for 2019-20, the World Bank forecast the crude oil prices hovering around $67 per barrel. At present, government is charging 17% sales tax on all products. The federal government is charging Rs18 per litre petroleum levy on HSD, Rs15 per litre on petrol, Rs6 per litre kerosene oil and Rs3 per litre on LDO.

Soaring Inflation: According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), prices of general and non-food items have dramatically increased during PTI’s one year in officeand inflation has soared from5.84 to10.83 percent. The inflation is now in double digits. The prices of all basic commodities like wheat and sugar have risen and in many cases sky-rocketed, forcing people in vicious poverty trap.

 

 

IMF U-turn and Failing on PTI Promise: During the election campaign, selected Prime Minister had asserted that his political party will not go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan. This appealed to PTI’s nationalist base, which desires independence from foreign actors such as international institutions. Conventional wisdom dictated that an IMF loan would be needed since the country’s foreign exchange reserves had fallen to alarming levels. However, having repeatedly targeted and rejected the previous government’s economic policies, which included seeking an IMF loan, the PTI could not afford to go to the IMF immediately after winning the election. The party was also concerned that the austerity measures that would accompany such a loan would make it difficult to carry out the ambitious social welfare programs they had promised the country. Under the PTI government, inflation has skyrocketed to over 10 percent, the highest in five years, and foreign direct investment dropped significantly, and thus, there was no choice but to approach the IMF for a bailout. However in the end the Govt bent over backwards to accept all IMF conditions to the extent that even the StateBank governor seemed to appointed with IMF negotiations in mind. The Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari termed them as the PTIMF government and budget to highlight how weak the government was with regard to IMF conditions.

No increase in Exports:  Despite narrowing of our high current account deficit due to massive devaluation of the rupee, the growth in our exports of around 1.6 per cent has been negligible. The tightening of the fiscal and monetary policies has sharply lowered the GDP growth rate, thereby, aggravating poverty and increasing unemployment in the country. The inflation has once again entered the double-digit territory. Contrary to PTI’s pre-election promises, government’s current expenditure has increased while that on development, especially on education, health and infrastructure, has registered a marked decline.

Negative growth in agriculture and manufacturing sector. Almost all sectors of the economy decelerated. The factories were shutting down leading to deindustrialization and commodities production of sugar wheat and cotton came down in Naya Pakistan.

Decrease in FDI: Net foreign direct investment has also declined by 51% to $1.273 billion in the first nine months of the current financial year as against $2.62 billion during the corresponding period last year.

Enormous increase in debt:Contrary to Selected PMs claim of not taking any more debt PTI has borrowed heavily and will perhaps be the heaviest borrower in Pakistan’s history.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s public debt increased to Rs.27.1 trillion by the end of January 2019, that is, an increase of Rs.2.4 trillion in just five months since August 2018. This is more than double the rate of increase in the public debt recorded during the tenure of the previous PML (N) government. If the impact of devaluation of the rupee is added, and the increase in interest rate, then the overall impact on debt burden is more than 7.2 trillion, which is the largest that any previous government has borrowed.

Devaluation of the Rupee: In one year the rupee lost nearly 25 per cent of its value from Rs 125 to 160. This has added to the overall debt burden of Pakistan. The devaluation was haphazard and adhoc, leading to economic instability in the country.

Loss of capital of Stock Market: In one year of PTI government, the stock market lost nearly 25 per cent of its value sliding from 42,900 points to 32,000.  The stock market is generally considered a barometer of economic activity, and this huge loss indicates how badly managed the economy was.

 

  1. Tabahi of Politics: Selected Khan emerges as Pakistan’s Fascist Face

With the third political transition, oneexpected some political stability in the country, but Imran Khan’s aggressive political sloganeering, and his fake rhetoric accountability increasingly led to conversion of Pakistani power into a fascist one. While on the one hand the opposition was being witch hunted, government’s own corrupt in the ranks were protected making National Accountability Bureau actions controversial.

Fake Accountability: Under the garb of accountability, PTI government is making an absolute mockery of the growing democracy in Pakistan and is targeting its political rivals presenting itself as a classic / defacto martial law regime. Two former Prime Ministers, Nawaz Sharif and Shahid Khaqan Abbasi are in jail and one former President, Asif Ali Zardari are in jail. In fact accountability process will clearly appear questionable if its radar is unable to catch Peshawar BRT and other projects. More egregious is the closing of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Ehtesab Bureau after an expenditure on nearly a billion rupees and no action on the corrupt in the PTI ranks, further exposing their double standards.

Targeting Women Leaders: A Gross Face of Fascism

The selected government has also set new bars of political victimization by targeting women leaders. While Imran Khan’s sister who confessed to her undeclared properties in Dubai and US roams free, Faryal Talpur who is fighting her case as per law was not only taken in NAB custody, she was sent on a judicial remand illegally and against the doctor’s advice. Similarly Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif arrested on her visit to see her father in prison. These acts were not only a gross face of dirty victimization campaign, they were also inhuman and unlawful.

A Corrupt and Incompetent Cabinet

Imran Khan’s campaign on corruption itself is based on double standards, and an eyewash as almost every member in his cabinet has skeletons in his or her cupboard. His cabinet and his advisorscomprise of turncoats, insider traders, benami account holders, loan defaulters, fake degree holders, and those accused of assassination of none other than Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. With such a hall of fame in his midst his going after the corrupt mantra rings hollow and reconfirms our position that this is victimization in the name of accountability

 

  1. Tabahi of Federalism and Governance

Undermining 18th Amendment

Under the 18th amendment, constitutional changes entailed regular meetings of the CCI on subjects that both the federation and the provinces shared. However hardly any consultation with the provinces is taking place nor are meetings of the CCI or the NFC award which would determine fair and transparent distribution of resources. In the first year of PTI Government Sindh government was deprived of more than 120billion of its share from the divisible pool, which led to halting of development work.

How not to make Suba of South Punjab

The government promised a South Punjab Taskforce, and did manage to create a two-member task force comprising the two Cabinet members from South Punjab, viz, Shah Mahmood Qureishi and Khusro Bakhtiar, but to our knowledge no meeting of this two member force ever took place. Later on, the Chief Minister constituted a so called Council on South Punjab, where there was no representation of the Opposition. So far there has been no statement on the progress made on this pledge which became a major rallying point for PTI electoral victory in South Punjab. But now this is turning out to be a major betrayal.

PTI Politics of Garbage & Karachi

PTI government promised a transformative Karachi package, made an announcement of 165billion rupees but so far no practical work is to be seen on the ground. The only work visible is picking up garbage and dumping it in a Cricket ground and gross publicity stunts by Fix It vigilantes.  Federal commitments on K4, S3, or the Greenline Project are still to be realized as federal government held back the funds it promised to Karachi

Police Reforms or PTI Police State?

One of the longstanding commitment of the PTI was to reform the police system by instituting independent policing making the police free from political influence. Instead, one of the first scandals to hit the Tabdeeli government came with the first lady’s relative ordering a transfer of a police officer who did not oblige in Pakpattan. This was followed up by transfer of an Inspector General, Punjab, and later Inspector General, Islamabad. In fact, the IG Islamabad was transferred because of the PTI Minister Azam Swati’s altercation with his poorer neighbours on the trespassing of their cows into his farmland! This shows that the police is not only far from independent, it is heavily under pressure from the political incumbents belonging to the PTI. We fear that PTI aims to impose a Police Raj by ensuring that they remain under their political influence.

Tabahi of Railways

In the past one year, the Ministry of Railways became a Ministry of Train Wrecks. Just in one year these accidents totaled 80 and led to a loss of 2billion. Despite promises that his Railway Minister would resign if there was an accident despite numerous opportunities in the form of train accidents Minister Railways has yet to implement the wishes of the Prime Minister.

Increase in prices of medicines

PTI Government increased the prices of medicines 200 per cent and despite changing the Advisor for health half way, the prices of medicines saw no decrease. This was to be the biggest jump in the past ten years, making it difficult for the common man to survive.

 

  1. Tabahi of Peoples Income and Livelihoods

Increase in Gas and Electricity prices and inflated Bills

The past one year has witnessed more than 600 per cent increase in gas prices, and more than 30 per cent increase in electricity bills which has broken the back of the poor and the middle classes in Pakistan. The only announcement that comes each month is either an increase in gas bills or electricity bills.This has made businesses uneconomical, and daily lives of the people miserable.

Thousands of Houses Demolished against 5Million Houses

PTI government promised 50 lakh houses in 5 years. After one it should have at least build 1 million houses. Instead we have seen razing of homes, shops, and plazas in the name of encroachment removals in Karachi and Islamabad. Till this date, we have seen several launches of Naya Pakistan housing but have not seen a single house on the ground. It is also not clear who will be building these houses, and how resources have been organized for the purpose.

Two million Unemployed against Promise of 10 million Jobs

With GDP down to less than four per cent, there is no way the government could provide ten million jobs Instead as is estimated by economists that with every one per cent decrease in growth about 800,000 thousand jobs are lost. Using this estimate Imran Khan’s Tabahi government has probably led to loss of nearly 2 million jobs.

Where is Ehsaas?

Prime Minister Imran Khan promised youth loans, internships, and a whole menu of social sector goods for protection of the poorest of the poor. So far none of these have seen the light of the day. Benazir Income Support Program, which was a PPP initiative ten years ago, is the only social sector programme that is providing relief to the poor.

 

  1. Tabahi of Agriculture: Starving the Growers

PTI promised an agriculture emergency, increase access to subsidized finance, launching plans to increase milk and meat production. But the only gift they have given to the farmer is to take away their only subsidy to farm inputs and increased the prices of DAP and Urea which coupled with a water crisis threatens the livelihoods of the farmers.

There is also no commitment in sight to providing subsidized inputs, or credit, nor any facility to promote agriculture as they had previously promised.

Reneging on Agriculture Emergency and Access to Finance

PTI promised to launch an agriculture emergency to increase profitability by launching an agriculture policy. They further promised to optimize subsidy programs, promising crop-mix besides other programmes.

In one-year government, there was little mention of agriculture or farmers. In fact reversing their commitment to profitability, the government transferred inflationary cost to the farmers by increasing cost of fertilizers and phosphates by nearly one-third making agricultural business uneconomical.

Contrary to promoting access to credit and finance to farmers the rising cost of inputs placed additional burden to the farmers.

Transforming Agriculture Produce and Revamping Livestock Sector: Broken Promises

Government’s 100-day plan initiative to both transform the agriculture produce and introduce a programme to revamp livestock sector remains unfulfilled.  There are hardly any fiscal commitments or any projects to transform the agricultural sector. Instead the parliamentary committee on agriculture recommendations was completely ignored while making the budget which shows the seriousness of the government towards agriculture.

Crowd funding DiamerBhasha Dam?

In his second PTV style address, PM Imran Khan announced to build the dam by collecting donations taking forward the idea floated by the Chief Justice. One year later not only that the Diamer Bhasha dam is no where to be seen, even on paper or in Imran Khan’s rhetoric, the billions of rupees of funds have also suffered a blow as instead of depositing the money in a savings account, the government kept the money in a current account and that too has found no disposal.

 

  1. Tabahi of Basic Rights and Freedoms: A New Era of Niazi Rule

Democracy is in its 11th year but instead of expanding and deepening rights and freedoms, Imran Khan’s one year witnessed a rule of absolutism as media freedoms, judicial independence, and across the board accountability were undermined.

Media censorship

Media watchdogs and independent journalism forums are terming PTI government as a fascist regime hiding behind censorship. Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders recently warned of “disturbing dictatorial tendencies” after three Pakistani TV stations were briefly taken off air in what it called “brazen censorship”. The Committee to Protect Journalists last year warned that the government  had “quietly, but effectively, set restrictions on reporting”.Free speech has been suppressed, TV channels pulled off-air without due process, newspapers pressurised to ban columnists and baseless treason cases filed to silence the media.

Violation of Fair Trial

With Pakistan’s jails full of political prisoners, and many others imprisoned under the infamous NAB law, there are serious questions on the due process of law. Hundreds have been imprisoned on mere suspicions and also on political basis.

NABGardi

The use of National Accountability Bureau as the means through which opposition parties are being witch hunted has no prior precedents. Random, badly organized allegations, with little substantive investigation have led to midnight knocks and arrests. The accountability bureau has now become a victimisation bureau.

 

  1. Tabahi in the Parliament

In his first address to the parliament, selected Prime Minister had promised to introduce Prime Ministers Question time where he would respond to questions by the members of the parliament every week. Despite one year, the Prime Minister who is conspicuous by his absence  has given not a single answer. In fact Prime Minister Imran Khans persistent from the parliament has made him more of a persona non grata.

In one year, Pakistan’s parliament has not been able to perform its basic functions of legislations. Today, the committees are at a standstill, parliamentary sessions are called, and then called off. Law making has been put on the back burner and government’s stranglehold on the parliament is complete making it more of a rubber stamp forum.As a matter of fact the only step the parliament has taken is ban the word ‘Selected’ in the National Assembly.

This is the parliament with a large number of frontbenchers in the opposition in prison or facing court cases. As such the freedom of speech, which is the hallmark of the parliament, has been severely compromised. A member of the parliament’s privilege of attending sessions has been severely damaged, as many members facing prisons are not allowed in sessions.

 

  1. Tabahi of Justice and Judicial System

Pakistan Tehrike Insaf professes that it is a movement for justice more than anything else. Yet after one year the systems of justice have become controversial as a result of one sided accountability, random arrests and failure for the judiciary to protect fundamental rights of the citizens.

In addition a controversial and ad hoc reference filed by selected Prime Minister against the Justice Faiz Essa and Justice Agha seems to be a strike at independence of judiciary creating disturbance in the legal community. It is common knowledge that Justice Faiz Essa would be the future Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and fearing his independence, Selected Prime Minister seems to have taken a preemptive step.

The Bar councils have condemned and rejected this reference calling it an attack on the independence of the judiciary as have the opposition parties.

 

  1. Tabahi in Foreign Policy

Pakistan’s foreign policy has seen car driving, begging bowl missions, wishes for Modi win, missed calls,but all these have failed to elevate Pakistan’s status in the region or in the world.

There is growing concern that like General Musharraf, selected Prime Minister Imran Khan may be making sudden U-turns on Pakistan’s foreign policy contours, with Imran Khan’s visit to the US only adding more fodder to these concerns.

While we support a policy of engagement, peace initiatives in the region especially Afghanistan, PPP considers that Pakistan’s friendship with its time-tested friends like China must never be compromised.

The recent Indian unilateral action on Kashmir has met with an unsatisfactory diplomatic response by the government has dented Pakistan’s longstanding and principled position on the issue of Kashmir. Today Kashmiris in Indian Occupied Kashmir are facing unending curfews, thousands are missing or under arrest and all channels of communication have been blocked. PPP has called for an aggressive diplomatic offensive by Pakistan’s foreign office to expose Indian atrocities and human rights violations bordering on ethnic cleansing. The government is slow and uncertain. The leadership the country needs at a time like this is missing. We want to recall here the services of our great Quaid Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who vowed to fight a thousand years to free Kashmiris from the Indian shackles.

 

 

 

 






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