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PML-N to devise budget strategy tomorrow – Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, who is set to return to the country from London on Sunday (today), will preside over a meeting of the party’s parliamentary group on Monday to discuss the prevailing political situation in the country and to devise the strategy for the upcoming budget sessions of the two houses of parliament.

According to the party’s information secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb, Mr Sharif will also preside over a meeting of the PML-N’s Economic Advisory Council (EAC) on June 12, a day after the presentation of the first federal budget by the PTI-led coalition government.

Ms Aurangzeb said that in the EAC meeting, the members would review the current economic situation in the country in the wake of “price-hike, unprecedented rise in inflation, increase in foreign loans and devaluation of Pakistani rupee against the US dollar”. She said that the PML-N would also prepare its own budgetary recommendations, besides discussing the strategy to “resist” the “anti-people budget” being presented by the government.

Ahsan accuses PM of surrendering Pakistan’s economic sovereignty by agreeing to IMF’s terms

The PML-N’s secretary general Ahsan Iqbal in a statement on Saturday alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had “surrendered the economic sovereignty of the country” by agreeing to the conditions of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which would ruin the life of the middle class people of the country. He claimed that in the last 10 months, there had been an increase of over Rs3,000 billion in the foreign debt. He added that every Pakistani had become 30 per cent poorer and over 10 million people had been rendered jobless.

Mr Sharif had left the country on a quick foreign visit on April 9 soon after the Lahore High Court lifted the no-fly ban on him.

Ms Aurangzeb said the party chief was returning to the country to negate claims of the government and its spokespersons that he had left the country for good in order to evade accountability.

Mr Sharif is returning at a time when all opposition parties are flexing muscles for their already announced separate plans for holding anti-government protests.

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has also convened an important meeting of the party’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) at Zardari House in Islamabad on Monday.

The CEC meeting will be held on the day of the expiry of the bail granted to Mr Zardari by the Islamabad High Court in the fake bank accounts case and the National Accountability Bureau had already announced that it was ready to arrest the former president.

Sources in the PML-N told Dawn that the party was divided over the issue of launching a full-fledged movement against the government and there was a group comprising many senior members which was of the view that they should give a tough time to the government inside the parliament.

On the other hand, Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan while refereeing to the recent incidents of terrorism in the country’s tribal areas has asked the opposition parties to stand united for the national cause letting their differences at side for countering the menace of terrorism from our motherland.

According to APP, the SAPM while talking to a private news channel on Saturday said the “opposition needs to understand that politics can be forgotten for the sake of state as country is our identity”.

Legal notice

Meanwhile, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan has served a Rs2bn defamation notice on PML-N leader from Faisalabad Rana Sanaullah for allegedly issuing “false, malicious and defamatory statements” against her.

The notice said Rana Sanaullah in his media talks had levelled baseless and fabricated allegations, which hurt the SAPM, besides damaging her reputation. The notice warned Rana Sanaullah to withdraw allegations, tender apology and pay damages within a period of 14 days, failing which Dr Firdous has the right of start legal proceedings against Rana Sanaullah under Defamation Act 2002.

Mr Sanaullah in a statement downplayed the legal notice and said that the SAPM had become angry whereas he had only asked her to respond to the allegations of “corruption in the government buses and medicines” when she was minister in the previous regimes.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2019

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