PTI govt taking country towards economic enslavement, say Opp leaders

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Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said recent economic decisions by the government, including an oil price hike of Rs9 per litre and the appointment of former IMF senior official Dr Reza Baqir as governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, would take the country on a path of “economic enslavement”.

Iqbal, flanked by senior Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah, said that there was a discussion with opposition parties on these two main issues on which the “nation stands united”.

“In the past, when oil was $72 per barrel in the international market, the oil price was much lesser, while now, oil is less than $65 per barrel, hence an increase in the price of petrol is not acceptable.”

“We demand the government to retract its decision of increasing the oil price.”

Iqbal went on to add that as the government has completely surrendered to the IMF, referring to Dr Baqir’s appointment as the SBP governor, and has become a colony for the international monetary body.

“The post of State Bank’s governor is a very important position,” the former minister said and added that appointing a former IMF official as the top SBP official was a “conflict of interest”.

“Who will fight Pakistan’s case in front of the IMF now,” questioned Iqbal.

Dr Reza Baqir assumed charge as governor SBP on Sunday.

He has held positions as the IMF mission chief for Romania and Bulgaria, the division chief of the IMF’s Debt Policy Division, the head of the IMF delegation to the Paris Club, the deputy division chief of the IMF’s Emerging Markets Division and the IMF resident representative to the Philippines.

Baqir’s immediate responsibilities will be to roll out policies set out by the IMF including implementing a flexible exchange rate regime, reducing the government’s reliance on central bank borrowings and ensuring transparency in many loans transactions.