‘Pledges made at Geneva Moot to revive economy’

From Abid Usmasn

LAHORE: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said on Tuesday that the pledges received by Pakistan at the Geneva climate conference a day earlier would help rebuild the economy and were a “slap on the faces” of people spreading propaganda on the country defaulting.
On Monday, international donors committed to give Pakistan over $10 billion to help it recover from last year’s devastating floods. Officials from some 40 countries as well as private donors and international financial institutions gathered for the meeting, co-hosted by Islamabad and United Nations.
During the conference, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the country will need $16.3 billion over the next three years for the initial efforts to rebuild and improve its ability to withstand climate change. He said Pakistan should be able to cover half the cost but urged the international community to pay for the rest.
Talking about the moot to journalists outside the Punjab Assembly Tuesday, Sanaullah congratulated the nation for the “major achievement”.
“The donations made Monday show that the entire world is standing with Pakistan, the prime minister and the coalition government.
“This help is evidence of the trust the world has in Pakistan and is a slap on the faces of the segments that have been running a propaganda against the country for the past three months,” he said.
The minister remarked that the government had expected to collect $8bn at the conference but, thankfully, had received pledges of more than $10bn and the amount may increase today.
“I want to tell the public today that this is not a loan. It is a grant which will help us pull the country out of the crisis that Imran Khan and his team pushed us into.
“The grant will reduce the dollar rate, inflation and ultimately the dissatisfaction among the people. With this, the drama of Imran’s popularity will also come to an end,” he asserted.
Sanaullah said that with the hand-holding that the world had shown to the PML-N government and its partners, the coalition government would be able to take the country to “new heights” this year.
Meanwhile, the minister claimed that there was “something fishy” underway at the Punjab Assembly, hinting that Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was trying to avert the vote of confidence.

Last month, the Punjab governor had denotified Elahi as chief minister of the largest province in a bid to forestall ousted premier Imran Khan’s plan to dissolve the PA.

Subsequently, Elahi approached the Lahore High Court (LHC), saying the move was “unconstitutional, unlawful and of no legal effect”. The court had later reinstated the PML-Q leader after he submitted an undertaking assuring the court that he would not dissolve the provincial assembly until the next hearing scheduled for January 11.

Talking to the media today, Sanaullah said that Elahi was using “illegal tactics” to “run away” from the vote of confidence.

“When I arrived at the PA today, I was stopped from entering the house on orders of the speaker and the chief minister,” he claimed, calling the alleged move “unconstitutional” and “illegal”.

The minister went on to say that the opposition had 180 numbers in the assembly. “We have been honest from the beginning […] but PTI and Parvez Elahi don’t have 186 numbers and this is why they are now opting for illegal tactics.”

But no matter what they do, they will have to take a vote of confidence, Sanaullah added.