ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party on Thursday said that the government had committed contempt of court by not withdrawing the travel ban on Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

Speaking at a news conference here, PPP leader Nafisa Shah said that the government should have immediately removed the names of 172 people from the Exit Control List after the Supreme Court asked the authorities to review the decision. Nafisa Shah was joined in the news conference by Palwasha Khan and others.

Shah said that previous governments had failed to prove anything against Zardari. “Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will also not be able to prove their claims. These are fabricated cases,” she said.

The PPP, she said, was concerned about the state of economy. “The PTI government’s policy of witch-hunting of politicians, calling for resignation of the chief minister of a province that delivers the most business and revenue, and its one track policy of accountability that is only focused on arrests and jail terms for opposition, has only marred the present business environment,” Nafisa Shah said.

Unfortunately, she said, institutions like National Accountability Bureau, Federal Investigation Agency and the Federal Board of Revenue have become policing agencies and their controversial role is further putting the financial system under pressure.

“Today, India’s growth rate stands at 8.2 per cent and Bangladesh’s at 7.3 per cent. But in Naya (new) Pakistan, we are going to have the lowest growth mark of 2.9 per cent this year according to Economic Intelligence Unit,” she added.

The PPP lawmaker said that the markets are down; businesses are closing and lay-offs have become a norm. “We are officially in recession and PTI policy is the main cause of the slow down. The fact that the government had no direction was indicated by none other than the government’s spokesperson Faruukh Saleem’s views, saying that government was only hiding the symptoms and not treating the disease and despite devaluing the rupee to 30 per cent of its value, exports are still down,” she said.

The PPP leader stressed the government to remove Finance Minister Asad Umar for massive failures in economic management, especially in handling our reserves, resolving balance of payment and managing stock market, rupee devaluation and tax recoveries.

Moreover, she said, the hurriedly awarded contract to Descon, a company owned by Razzaq Dawood’s family, shows that Naya Pakistan’s main economic policy is nepotism and cronyism.

She said that the government’s lack of clarity and timely decisions in first 4 months contributed to this state. The rupee, she said, had lost 15 percent of its value in two different shock acts when the Prime Minister was on record saying that he saw this on the television and Finance Minister said that he had informed the PM.

“The massive devaluation has so far not helped the economy according to experts. Reduction on government’s development budget instead of a fiscal injection, government reduced development spending by 300 billion,” the PPP leader said.

She said that the oil prices Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority recommended a 10 to 15 percent reduction in oil prices. “But the government has only given a 4.5 rupee cut in petrol,” she added.

She alleged that the PTI-led government had recklessly increased electricity and gas tariffs but there is no let down in load-shedding.

Since coming into government, PTI has increased gas tariff to up to 143 percent; increased oil prices and electricity tariffs, she said.

International fines amounting to $4 billion over Karkay, Reko Dik and others which shockingly amounts to 50 percent of its present reserves have again created despondency in the market, the PPP lawmaker said.

“In the light of these issues, PPP calls upon the government to put its own house in order as their honey moon period is officially over. Stop harassing opposition and a provincial government and get down to business of rescuing a sick economy,” Shah said.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, PPP leader Farhatullah Babar said that the award of Mohmand Dam contract to Descon-Pakistan belonging to Advisor on Commerce Razzaq Dawood was sheer conflict of interest.

In a statement, he said that the party waited for 2 days hoping that credible explanation will be offered but the explanation offered raised more serious questions than it sought to answer.

Since no credible explanation has been offered, the party demands a transparent probe into the matter and till the probe is completed the Advisor Commerce must step aside, he said.