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Wednesday, July 17, 2024  
10 Muharram 1446  

‘Economic hitman’ made Pakistan’s budget: NA opposition leader

Omar Ayub describes annual budget as ‘economic terrorism’
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub delivers his speech during NA speech on June 20, 2024. Photo via Facebook/National Assembly of Pakistan
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub delivers his speech during NA speech on June 20, 2024. Photo via Facebook/National Assembly of Pakistan

Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub has accused the federal government of crafting the annual budget through an “economic hitman”, aimed at “shaking the very foundations” of the country.

“The fiscal year budget 2024-25 is an economic terrorism with the people of Pakistan and their future,” he said while addressing the National Assembly session on Thursday. “The story of this budget began with the narrative of ‘vote ko izzat do’ and ended on ‘boot ko izzat do’.”

The aforementioned term is apparently taken from the book Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins which claims that the United States was engaged in a modern form of slavery by using the World Bank and other international organisations to offer huge loans to developing nations for construction projects and oil production.

The book claims that the loans are too big for any developing nation to repay and such a debt burden guarantees the developing nation would support the political interests of the United States.

Pakistan is seeking an Extended Fund Facility from the IMF to support its economic plans and carry out its agenda to have long-term stability. Reports say the South Asian country is seeking $6 to $8 billion from the Fund under a three-year programme.

This will be the 25th IMF programme as the country struggles to implement structural reforms recommended by the international lenders.

Debate on the budget formally opened on Thursday in the NA after the Eidul Azha holidays with its passage planned for June 24. Ayub said the budget as an “illegal document” that is hostile towards the people of Pakistan.

His speech was muted several times as he lamented the alleged establishment’s interference in state affairs.

“The budget is a fraud with the people. This is a highway robbery against the people of Pakistan. This budget in actuality is economic terrorism against the people and the future of the country,” he added.

Ayub claimed that investors would not trust the economy to invest in a country where there was “no rule of law”. The IMF had clearly instructed the government to talk to other stakeholders, he added.

He was of the view that the finance minister’s wings were clipped as the government was trying to undermine Muhammad Aurangzeb such as removing him from the chairmanship of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec).

“Aurangzeb sahib’s heart must have sunk,” he said. “The Ecnec chairmanship was taken away by the prime minister and his wingman […] entered and his name is Senator Ishaq Dar. Family concern, family business, private limited,” Ayub added.

“Aurangzeb is smiling right now but he must be thinking that I will talk to Omar Ayub later because I have said the right things.”

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