PM’s stance on Senate elections

Taking broad side of the state institutions has now become a routine matter for PML-N leaders. The Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, while addressing the inauguration ceremony of Chaudhry Abdul Hameed Cardiology Center in Lahore, said that recent Senate election should be scrapped and the senators who bought their way to the parliament should be sent packing. He said, “I have said it before and I will say it again that we reject these senate elections that were contested with the power of money.”

The Prime Minister criticized his party’s political opponents and opined that they do not expect any justice from accountability courts. He claimed that that all allegations against the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif are baseless. Accusations of horse trading in the elections of members of the upper house is not a new phenomenon in the political culture that was introduced in the country by the two mainstream political parties in the decade of 1980s and it was emulated by the regional parties as well. There is no need to cry over spilt milk. The recent Senate elections were apparently held in democratic manner through secret balloting and the statements that are tantamount to make it controversial run counter to national cohesion.

Pointing an accusing finger on law courts is the demonstration of an attitude which is conflict with the rule of and respect for the court of law. Every opportunity was given to the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to produce a money trial of the offshore assets of his family in the Supreme Court in Panama Papers Case and now the due process of law is fully being observed in the trial against him and his family members in the accountability court. One should better wait for the completion of hearing of the case in the court and announcement of verdict.

The Prime Minister gave a rosy picture about the performance of the government. He claimed that 10000 megawatt additional power has been inducted in the distribution system and economic rate growth has been raised from 3 percent to 5.7 percent. Load shedding of electricity for four hours has been started from 1st April on feeders wherefrom the recovery of bills is 100 percent and line losses are less than 10 percent. The consumers of cities and rural areas from whom the recovery is less than 50 percent and line losses on their feeders are more than 20 percent the duration of load shedding is 20 hours. The government stopped the import of furnace through PSO to encourage the conversion of private thermal power station to LNG but the move backfired and now the import of furnace oil has been allowed. However, the generation of thermal power dropped. The government can not clear the entire amount of circular debt and the likely shut down of IPPs will result in the power outages of much longer duration during June-September.

The positive impact of increase in economic growth is neither reflected in the macro economic indicators nor has its trickle down effect reached to the common man on micro side. Current account deficit has reached $ 18 billion; exports are stagnant at $ 20 billion for the last four years, and imports are at $ 36 billion plus. The burden of foreign debt has gone up to $ 90 billion, showing an increase of $ 45 billion and the country will face insolvency if a fresh IMF bail out does not materialize before June. The economy has slipped down to 147th position in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index. The percentage of population living below the poverty line has gone up from 40 to 60 percent. As per the UNDP report the Human Development Index of Pakistan is 0.5 percent which is even the lowest in comparison with number developing countries of South Asia. Tall claims and numbers game can not conceal the bitter facts for long.

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