KARACHI - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Senator Saeed Ghani on Sunday expressed concern over nation’s silence on the Rs500 billion fall in national exports in the last three years.

Ghani said he feared that another financial scandal of the Sharif brothers involving a cartel of money launderers was on the way.

“If the Panama scandal and offshore companies are anything to go by, it will be no surprise that Sharif’s cartel is found involved in siphoning off 20 percent of exports for personal windfall profits,” the PPP senator stated.

Over the last three years, he said, export earnings declined by nearly 20 per cent in terms of US dollar, falling from $25.1 billion to $20.8b. He said that two key sectors of the economy had floundered since 2013 — agriculture and exports and both accounted for almost one-third of Pakistan’s GDP.

Soon after he was sworn in as president of Pakistan, the PPP senator, Asif Ali Zardari started persuading the EU to award the GSP-Plus status to Pakistan and allow zero duty on Pakistani exports to European countries. He said the EU finally approved the GSP-Plus status for Pakistan in 2013. But, he said, the Sharif government had failed to make an effective use of the GSP-Plus facility due to its lacklustre policy response, indifference towards exports and bizarre priorities.

Senator Saeed Ghani warned that such a drastic fall in exports would unleash a storm of unemployment in the country and turn millions of skilled and unskilled labourers jobless.

“The loss of a staggering amount of Rs500 billion in foreign exchange is a major jolt for our economy. Its aftershocks will be very destructive. There is a great need to increase exports and capitalise on the hard-earned GSP-Plus status,” he said.

Earlier, Ghani condemned victimisation of former federal minister Samina Khalid Ghurki by the Punjab government.

In a statement issued here on Sunday, Ghani said the Punjab government had started victimisation of PPP leaders after the party leadership announced public rallies against the rulers in every corner of the country.

“It is extremely shameful that the Punjab government is harassing former National Assembly Member Samina Khalid Ghurki through police,” he said. “The Punjab government has the blood of innocent people of Model Town, Lahore, on its hands and now it has started harassing and victimising PPP workers. A false and concocted FIR against Samina Khalid Ghurki has exposed the ugly face of the government.”

SBC asks senior members to take charge of SHCBA

The Sindh Bar Council has directed its four senior members to take charge of the Sindh High Court Bar Association, Hyderabad, because it failed to conduct the bar's annual elections.  According to a letter issued by the SBC Secretary Zain-ul-Abidin on Dec 31, the council's executive committee directed for the step after taking notice of the delay in conducting the fresh polls.

The secretary further directed the members to verify the list of members within seven days and submit the same to the council for preparation of the final voter lists.

The polling to elect the new body was already scheduled for January 14, the letter reads.

The members who had been given the task, include Ahmed Nawaz Khan Pechuho, Arbab Ali Chandio, Sain Bakhsh Nizamani and Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui.