ISLAMABAD - Economic wizards of two main political parties PTI and PML-N, Hammad Azhar and Ishaq Dar, yesterday slugged it out on twitter, defending their economic policy.

Discussion started when a senior journalist commented on a tweet of former spokesperson to the incumbent government on economy and energy issues, Farrukh Saleem.

In his tweet, Saleem showed that Pakistan’s GDP growth is lowest in the region at only 2.8 percent, which is even less than Afghanistan’s growth that recorded at 3.4 percent.  

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar defended the government’s economic policies. He said, “If it was so simple then why Moody’s downgraded Pak economy when it was growing at 5% & upgraded it now? Growth bubble based on highest ext deficits, depleting forex reserves took Pakistan near default & its economy in ICU. Let patient stabilise before expecting it to sprint,” the minister said on his social media account.

Later, on the next day (Wednesday), former finance minister Ishaq Dar criticized the economic policies of the incumbent government. On his social media, Dar said that Hammad Azhar is an innocent member of the Imran Niazi’s economic team, having little idea of how the economy works.

He quoted the PTI government as; Tabdeeli Sarkar, that has interned a growing economy into ICU from the day one, bringing down the growth from 5.5 percent to 2.4 percent by administering doses of 40 percent devaluation; doubling interest (policy) rate to 13.25 percent; imposing new taxes of Rs750 billion (which was lied on the floor of the House by Hammad Azhar as Rs500 billion and for which he was promoted as full minister;  highest ever fiscal deficit of 8.9 percent of GDP; first time ever SBP’s hundreds of billions rupees annual profit converted to loss; sharpest increase in a decade of inflation from 4 percent to 14.6 percent, with food inflation rising from 1.6 percent to 23.8 percent. After wrecking people’s lives they are asking let the patient stabilize before it sprint. “No. it’s all because of PTI’s gross negligence, mismanagement and sheer incompetence. People have lost patience with Imran Niazi Govt which has to go,” Dar concluded on his social media account.

It is worth mentioning here that opposition parties and economic experts are criticising the policies of the government, which had resulted in the higher inflation rate and massive shortfall in tax collection.

Tax collection shortfall had swelled to Rs384 billion in seven months’ period. The FBR has collected Rs2407 billion as compared to the actual target of Rs2791 billion and Rs2552 billion revised target.