ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party on Thursday warned the government against introducing presidential system in the country.

Speaking at a news conference along with Farhatullah Babar, PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said that the PPP would not allow the ruling coalition leader Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf to impose a presidential system. She alleged that the PTI wanted to introduce the presidential system in the country after leaving the Parliament paralysed. Senator Sherry Rehman said that making the Parliament non-operational, the PTI wanted to send a message to the public that the Parliament had failed to perform for paving the way to introduce the presidential form of government.

She said that due to the government’s obstinacy, no parliamentary committee had been formed yet. She said that even after 100 days, the government failed to form the Public Accounts Committee. “We are in strong opposition in the Senate. The government is ignoring the elected institutions. We will not let the government do this,” she said. Sherry Rehman also regretted that Prime Minister Imran Khan even was not cognisant of the recent devaluation of rupee against US dollar.

She said that introducing the presidential form of government by abolishing the 1973 Constitution was a long-time desire of anti-democratic forces in Pakistan, adding that the presidential form of government was introduced after every martial law in Pakistan.

Sherry Rehman said that the country could not be run through ordinances. She said that the PPP advocated for supremacy of the Parliament. She alleged that the government had failed to stabilise the economy of the country.

On the rupee’s plunge against the dollar and the government’s ‘indecision’ on external loan terms, she said: “The rupee went into a precipitous free fall, 'the biggest in a decade, only to stabilise hours later while the whole country was holding its breath on how the balance of payments crisis will be resolved. One day the government says an IMF (International Monetary Fund) programme is needed, the next it issues a sharp rebuke against borrowing from the IMF. This fiscal schizophrenia is disastrous for the economy.”

She added: “The government should have a better response than simply saying that there is no need to panic. For the people of Pakistan surviving on pay check to pay check, and especially the eroding daily wages, there is a reason to be anxious. With the interest rate at 10%, inflation is expected to reach 12%. The price of basic commodities such as wheat increased by 6.11%, flour by 9.32%, eggs by 20% and pulses by 20%, to name a few. In line with the rupee’s devaluation, incomes in Pakistan saw a drastic reduction of 36%. A year ago, the minimum wage was equivalent to almost $150/month, now it’s down to $105/month. This is well below the regional wage rate against the dollar which is $175/month in India and $240/month in China. Where is the relief for the working class?”

The PPP vice president continued: “Many are saying that nearly Rs300 billion will be added to country’s foreign debt as a result of the whopping exchange rate adjustment. How will the government explain adding this to our already-troubled balance of payments? The Parliament and people have legitimate questions. How does the government intend to restore Pakistan’s reserves? Improving exports and remittances are often cited as sources for the dollar supply. But if they were indeed improving, why would the SBP (State Bank of Pakistan) have to hike key interest rates by 10%, to 150 basis points which is the highest in six years? The State Bank’s report certainly warned of tough times without glossing over reality like the government.”

The PPP leaders said that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the cleanest politician in the country and if the government tried to implicate him, the party will protest.

APP adds: Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari here on Thursday said that democracy is the only way for growth and development of the country whereas PPP has always been striving for the supremacy of the Constitution and rule of law in the country.

He said that “It is my first visit to the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). I feel glad to be here as chief guest on the event to celebrate ‘Sindh Topi-Ajrak Day’.”

He said that Sindh encompasses thousands of years old civilisation and has rich historical background ,adding,  that the civilisation which has no precedent of violence whereas Moinjodaro is the pride of Sindh.

Bilawal said that the centuries old culture and traditions of Sindh were based on love, peace and harmony which were still alive in the history.

Bilawal said the establishment of SZABIST was the earnest endeavour of Benazir Bhutto to provide good learning facilities for all Pakistanis.

He said that PPP had history of struggle for the democracy and strengthening of the party, adding, we had also made huge endeavours for the autonomy of the public.

He said that the people of Sindh are much aware of the benefits of democratic system in the country and Parliamentary form of government was the best for the country’s political system.

“Pakistan is a great country and proud to be a Pakistani. Pakistan is a bucket of different culture and languages. There is equality for the speaker of every language in the country,” he remarked.

“PPP has given sacrifices but never took U-turn from its goals and never submitted before the dictators,” he stated.

The Chairman PPP said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto accepted death instead of retreating from his commitments.

He said that “We defeated terrorism by facing it from eyeball to eyeball and never compromised on our national interests.”