Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Friday claimed the controversial State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Amendment Bill 2021 which the government bulldozed through the National Assembly would be reversed as this legislation could be in favour of the International Monetary Fund but not the country.
Addressing a press conference along with other Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders, including Miftah Ismail and Khuraam Dastagir, Abbasi said: "The government was able to pass the SBP Bill from the Parliament as the lawmakers of the ruling coalition partners received phone calls."
He did not specify who made the phone calls.
As per the requirement of the IMF to resume the sixth tranche of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility facility to the country, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government passed two key bills - SBP (Amendment) Bill 2021 and Finance Supplementary Bill 2021 - from the NA on January 13.
In his press conference, the PML-N leader claimed that in private parties the federal ministers used to say they were "helpless" due to the IMF. "Display your helplessness and let the opposition lawmakers talk on it [the issues and bills] in the NA," said Abbasi directly addressing the federal ministers, adding why do "you defend these bills".
Referring to the day when the government passed the two bills, along with 14 others, the former premier said: "Yesterday was the darkest day in the Parliamentary history of the country when the Parliamentary rules and traditions were crushed by the NA speaker and deputy speaker as they were propagated to do so by the prime minister and federal ministers."
Abbasi said the bills were passed in urgency without any discussion on them in the NA and the government was unable to explain the urgency.
The Finance Division had officially requested the IMF to reschedule the meeting of its Board of Directors for the approval of the sixth review of the $6 billion Extended Fund Facility till end of January. Earlier, the international body removed the sixth tranche recommendation to its board for consideration on the January 12.
"The government bulldozed these bills to get $6 billion loans from the IMF without considering the fact that an additional burden of Rs700 billion taxes being shifted on the people," said Abbasi, adding the PTI rulers had claimed to bring Rs200 billion back to the country and out of the total amount Rs100 billion was supposed to be given to the IMF.
The SBP bill was a dangerous one as the economic key of the country was being given to the IMF and other international institutions, he added.
He further said the finance minister had been part of every government since 1997. "Shuakat Tarin says the previous governments did this [the condition of the economy]. However, he never uttered such kind of words earlier while he was part of the previous ruling parties," Abbasi said.