Asad Umar comes to Shaukat Tarin’s defence, says gave ‘sensible’ advice to KP, Punjab ministers

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ISLAMABAD: PTI Secretary-General Asad Umar said Monday Shaukat Tarin — being a former finance minister understands the country’s economy — and, therefore, he didn’t suggest anything wrong and gave “sensible” advice to Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s finance ministers. “He told both finance ministers to tell the federal government they should go back to the IMF and inform them that we [our provinces] have been hit by a flood and it is not a normal situation,” Umar said in a press conference. The PTI leader said that Tarin asked the finance ministers to tell the federal government that it should seek a concession in the budget surplus that was initially agreed upon. “Will a sensible person believe that this wasn’t a good suggestion? Didn’t Imran Khan, when COVID hit the country, ask the IMF personally for fiscal space? Wasn’t a debt relief programme started for developing economies?” Umar questioned. He added that it is sensible to seek concession from the international lender — given the current situation. “Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is asking countries for funds to provide relief to the flood affectees. Can’t you ask the IMF to provide fiscal space for a certain period of time, so we can rehabilitate our people through our own money and not ask others for donations?” he stressed. Umar claimed that the letter was sent to the federal government and not the IMF. Separately, PTI Senior Vice President Shireen Mazari said that there is “nothing illegal or wrong in the conversation”.The PTI leader said that the party has publicly opposed the terms on which “imported government” is taking loans from the international money lender. “But what is illegal is the wire-tapping done on the conversation without court order. A criminal offence.”

 

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