Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Sunday linked resumption of stalled talks between government and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) with postponement of `Plan-C’, through which the latter has warned to shut down the country on December 18. Dar, who is also heading government negotiating team, told reporters the government had earlier called upon the PTI leadership to defer its protest plan if they seriously wanted to resume the dialogue process, but PTI chief turned it down.
“We don’t urge them [PTI] to cancel their protest plan, but we want them to postpone it for the time being to resume the stalled talks. But they’re hell bent to proceed (with their protest plan) so we can’t stop them at gun-point”, he said, adding, “Let them hold their Faisalabad protest [and] we’ll chalk out our future strategy after Monday protest”.
He claimed that the government had invited PTI for holding a meeting on Sunday evening, but Imran Khan was adamant to go ahead with his Monday protest in Faisalabad. Dar rejected PTI chairman’s claims of decreasing petrol prices under pressure from his party sit-ins and attributed it to the decease of oil prices in international market.
To a question, he said that the government believes in dialogue and there was no problem to form a judicial commission under the law and the Constitution to probe the alleged rigging in 2013 general elections.
Earlier, addressing the office-bearers of All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS), Dar called for collective efforts to take the country forward on the path of progress and prosperity, adding all the political parties should sign “charter of economy” for the economic stability and prosperity of the country.
The minister said Pakistan has a great future as it has the potential to move forward, adding PML-N government was working according to its manifesto for the development and prosperity of the country.
He maintained that “hidden hands” become active whenever the country starts moving in the right direction. He pointed out that the country’s economy was in shambles when the government took over, adding they had inherited Rs503 billion circular debts. He added that the incumbent government worked day and night to revive the economy.
About the status of economy, Dar said that 13.7 per cent rise has been registered in foreign remittances, while 16.4pc increase in tax collection and foreign exchange reserves have reached $14 billion as a result of PML-N government policies.
He said foreign exchange reserves will touch $15 billion by the end of this month, adding the government has issued the Sukuk bonds on the demand of Islamic Banks and got $2.3 billion offers. However, he maintained that the release of Sukuk bonds and sale of Oil and Gas Development Company Ltd. (OGDCL) shares were delayed due to sit-ins by PTI and PAT.
The minister further stated that merit and transparency will be ensured in every government department. He said that government was paying special attention to economy, energy, education and elimination of terrorism.
He underscored the importance of newspapers in educating the society and assured to make all the payments to the newspapers to clear their arrears.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT