ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leaders yesterday termed Opposition Leader in Punjab Assembly Hamza Shahbaz’s hue and cry over current situation of economy a tactic to shift people’s attention from his money laundering case.

“Do whatever you (Hamza) want, the government is not going to give any National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) like relief to anybody,” Minister of State for Revenue Hammad Azhar said while addressing a press conference flanked by Minister for National Health Services Aamir Mehmood Kiani and Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Shozab Kanwal here. He said time had come to tell the nation that meetings of leaders of opposition parties were not aimed at charter of democracy but at charter of corruption for which they were getting closer.

“For how many times you meet with Asif Ali Zardari or Maulana Fazlur Rehman, you will not get any NRO as your case has now become open to the whole nation,” he said while reacting over Hamza’s statement.

He said by observing Hamza’s case of money laundering, it seemed that his case was not different from that of Zardari and Omni.

Responding to Hamza Shahbaz’s statement that people who commit money laundering usually flee from the country and they never return, Hammad said now he himself had disclosed the reality that former finance minister Ishaq Dar and Hassan and Hussain Nawaz were staying abroad to avoid facing cases in the country.

The state minister pointed out that current slowdown in country’s economy was in fact due to wrong policies of the previous government who presented false figures.

Referring to a recent book written by renowned economist Dr. Hafiz Pasha, Hammad said in the book, it was admitted that Ishaq Dar had fudged economic figures to show rosy picture of the country’s economy.

He attributed the current slowdown in economy, hike in inflation and rupee devaluation to the flawed economic policies of previous government, adding that despite exaggeration in economic figures, the economic growth rate remained at 4.5 per cent.

Hammad said the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf government had helped bringing the country’s economy out of severe crisis, however, there was much to do yet.

He said due to prudent policies of the incumbent government, country’s current account deficit which continued increasing during previous five years was now rapidly going down and in February it shrank by 72 per cent, whereas the trade deficit had also plunged by 37 per cent in March.

He said, “Government is concerned over hike in inflation but to bring country’s economy out of default-like situation, it will have to make adjustments in energy prices and devalue its currency.

“We are trying our best to keep this difficult period as short as possible and to move forward on the path of development,” he said adding, that during next five years, the country would grow rapidly with sustainable development.

Regarding slowing down of revenue collection, the minister said due to sharp decline in country’s imports which give 40 per cent of total revenue, the collection in revenue remained low, however, he said, the collection was still three per cent higher as compared to previous year.

With respect to rupee devaluation, Hammad Azhar said during first eight months of current fiscal year, the rupee devalued by 10.8 per cent while during same period of the PML-N’s government the rupee devalued by 10.1 per cent and during last seven months of the previous government it devalued by 17 per cent.

“When we came into power, the foreign exchange reserves with the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) were too low to be disbursed in the open market to keep rupee value intact,” he remarked.

Responding to a question with respect to the Federal Minister Faisal Vawda’s statement of a good news, the state minister said he was actually referring to exploration of big offshore oil reserves.

“There is no doubt that if the oil and gas reserves are unearthed, they will be among the top 10 big offshore reserves,” he added.