ISLAMABAD - Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Senator Sherry Rehman on Tuesday voiced dismay over the country’s alarming debt accumulation under the current government and its refusal to hold itself accountable.

The lawmaker said the democratic institutions could not work without transparency or economic prudence.

Reports revealed that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities had reached Rs22.5 trillion by the end of the last fiscal year.

This figure showed a net increase of Rs2.6 trillion in one year.

“Economic forecasts and reports all point towards Pakistan’s dangerous downward economic spiral, which suggests that we are headed towards an economic catastrophe, if the problems are not mitigated as soon as possible,” continued Senator Rehman.

The senator added: “Pakistan has been borrowing around Rs2 trillion annually. This is not a sustainable practice, particularly so, when the government’s total domestic and foreign borrowings have already amounted to a staggering $55 billion.”

In a statement, she said that the prime minister spent millions on his latest London trip, while his government’s “ruinous economic policies” only continue to pile up the country’s debt.

“How can this government explain this to the average Pakistani who earns Rs12,000 per month? They will lose confidence in democracy and only see it as extractive,” she stressed.

The senator also expressed her concern over the government’s economic policies that put extra financial burden on the public.

“Recently, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) extended the power sector debt for two more years. As a result, consumers would end up paying for the interest, which will continue to reflect on their electricity bills. In 2015-2016 they have already collected Rs29.3 billion from the consumers”.

She said the government took pride in its supposed expertise in economic management “but in the past three years, the country’s external debt rose by 27 per cent, our exports declined by 35 per cent, FDI is down by 53 per cent in July to August compared to last year, and the rate of debt increased by approximately 37.5 per cent.”

“Falling exports, the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), remittances, circular debt in key industries and the piling up of debt --- both foreign and domestic, have been persistent economic issues with serious repercussions. Instead of finding practical and sustainable solutions, the government has been draining the government’s coffers for exorbitant trips abroad and band-aid remedies,” Rehman said.

The lawmaker said that this was not macroeconomic stability.

“This is mortgaging Pakistan's future to pay for the luxury of government elites,” Rehman said.