No rolling back of 18th amendment, defends Reza appointment: FM Qureshi

ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said that neither is the 18th Constitutional Amendment being rolled back, nor is presidential system being imposed in the country.

Qureshi said this in a heated speech on the floor of the Senate.

Speaking about the recent appointment of Dr Reza Baqir, the Governor State Bank of Pakistan, the foreign minister cautioned others not to distribute “certificates of patriotism”.

Defending Baqir’s appointment, Qureshi said the government had made the selection on merit. He said that Baqir was a son of Pakistan and he was going to serve the country at a minimal salary.

He said it was worth looking at why Pakistan had to approach the IMF. He said that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does not approach governments itself, but countries go to the global lender in their time of need.

“Unfortunately, the economy was completely destroyed in the past ten years. And the nation knows who is responsible for this destruction,” he said, adding that the country had to once again approach the IMF because of the poor condition that previous governments had left the economy in.

“And is this the first time we are going to the IMF? This is the 16th time we are approaching the IMF. Everybody knows who knocked the IMF’s doors during which government’s tenure in the past,” he said.

Responding to comments from the opposition benches, particularly the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the foreign minister said they had taken out the funeral of the economy in the past.

He said that the nation was well aware which government knocked on the IMF’s doors how many times in the last decade.

He said that, despite a norm of loot and plunder that had destroyed the economy in the past decade, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government would announce a more favourable National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

Qureshi said that announcing an NFC award was the government’s responsibility according to Article 160 of the Constitution, which says that an NFC award be announced every five years.

He said that a committee formed under former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar failed to deliver any progress on the matter. Pointing the finger at the Sindh government, he said that provincial governments had also failed to nominate their candidates.

He said that there was no danger to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, neither was there any risk to Pakistan’s nuclear program.

“The country is not moving towards a one-unit system,” he said, further dispelling any rumours of rolling back the 18th amendment or imposition of presidential system in the country.