Arresting Zardari more important than arresting fiscal deficit: Hafeez Shaikh


(Disclaimer: this is a work of fiction. Learn to take a joke; you’ll live longer.)

ISLAMABAD – The Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that arresting the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Cochairman Asif Ali Zardari was the single largest economically beneficiary move undertaken in the history of the country.

Addressing a press conference following the announcement of the fiscal budget, Shaikh reiterated that the government is ready to take big decisions in order to maintain fiscal discipline, maintaining that there has been no bigger decision taken for the Pakistani economy than Zardari’s arrest.

“Arresting Zardari was significantly more important than arresting the fiscal deficit,” Shaikh said responding to a question about the budget not reflecting any considerable change in the overall fiscal deficit during 2019-20, which is set to come in at a record Rs3.15tr or 7.2 per cent of GDP.

“Once the Sharifs and the Zardaris are arrested and other opposition parties are similarly kept under check, deficits and reserves will automatically be under check,” Shaikh said.

“What matters is the number of corrupt politicians behind the bars, not the numbers depicting trade, exports, foreign exchange, inflation, etc,” the financial adviser added.

Referring to the Prime Minister’s commission to probe why the national debt had ballooned over the years, Shaikh said that he’s volunteering for the project.

“I know the corrupt politicians from the PPP tenure and the current tenure, having been in charge of finances in both,” he said.