Interior Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said on Sunday that the Pakistan Day Parade on March 23 will feature a fly-past by Chinese J-10C fighter jets.
“The fly-past ceremony of J-10C is being held for the first time in Pakistan," Rasheed told reporters in Islamabad.
"This is our response to [India's] Rafale," he added.
He was referring to arch-rival India’s purchase of French-made Rafale combat jets.
In 2016, India signed a deal to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France for around $8.7 billion, the country’s first major acquisition of combat planes in two decades.
At the time, the Indian air force was down to 33 squadrons, against its requirement of 45 to face both China, with which it has a festering border dispute and nuclear-armed rival Pakistan.
Talking about the Finance (Supplementary) Bill 2021, the interior minister said that the bill was passed by the National Assembly (NA) despite the opposition's objections.
The bill has been seen as a key condition to revive the $6-billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Rejecting the opposition's claims that the bill will hike inflation, Rasheed said that the taxes imposed under the bill will not impact the common people of the country.
"Imran Khan is not the first Prime Minister who has gone to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)," he said adding that "previous governments have gone to the fund for bailout many times".
"The current economic crisis is the result of the previous government's failed policies," he claimed.
The mid-year budget is expected to end exemptions on sales tax as part of fiscal tightening and law to grant its central bank greater autonomy.
Authorities expect ending the tax exemptions will help raise Rs343 billion.
Addressing rumors about a potential "in-house change" to remove Imran Khan as the Prime Minister, the minister said that these are "only opposition's dreams."
"Imran Khan is the leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and will remain the party leader," he said.
The story was originally published in Business Recorder on January 16, 2022.