Ahsan Iqbal says 5/9 havoc was a 9/11 on Pakistan

1684665540 Ahsan Iqbal says 59 havoc was a 911 on Pakistan
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal addresses a presser in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — PPI
Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal addresses a presser in Islamabad on May 10, 2023. — PPI

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has compared the vandalism that took place on May 9 by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers to the 9/11 attacks in the United States. He described the attack on military installations and symbols of national pride, including Jinnah House and the Yadgar-e-Shuhada, as “unprecedentedly irrational, unacceptable, and not less than the 9/11 attacks.”

According to Iqbal, the armed forces of Pakistan viewed the May 9 incident as equivalent to the September 11 attacks in America. He regretted that political workers had attacked symbols of the country’s heritage and the pride of its security departments. The destruction of Jinnah House, for instance, was an attack on not only the residence of a Corps Commander, but also a heritage of the country’s founder.

The PTI workers broke the statue of Captain Karnal Sher Khan Shaheed, who had demonstrated bravery in the Kargil battlefield and was even admired by India. Destroying the fighter jets of 1965 war meant attacking the pride of the Pakistan Air Force. The Chagai mountain model, which represented the nuclear tests of Pakistan’s scientists and the country’s impregnable defense, was also set on fire.

Iqbal observed that all the symbols targeted selectively had a link with national heritage or the pride of the armed forces. He said that serious offences like these could not be tolerated and forgiven by any country, reminding us that all those who attacked the United States Capitol Hill at the behest of former President Donald Trump were framed with charges, and UK courts sternly punished those involved in street riots, loot, and plunder.

Initiating evidence-based legal proceedings against the subversive activities could not be avoided, and those who attacked military installations would be tried under the Army Act. Iqbal further added that these people did not deserve any mercy as they would not have shown any if they had succeeded in their subversive activities.

The minister further added that when the coalition government came into power, the national kitty was empty due to the failed economic policies of the PTI. The Finance Ministry was unable to release development funds for the last quarter of 2021-22, which was the first time this had happened in the country’s history. However, the incumbent government took bold steps under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, resisted the situation, and streamlined the affairs to a great extent, he said.

Iqbal explained that inflation was the result of PTI’s four-year rule, which had damaged foreign investment pouring into the country under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects. In the four years, the PTI government devalued the rupee against the dollar, allowed $80 billion imports in its last year to display artificial growth, and benefited friends by issuing import licenses.

The current government resumed the stalled IMF programme, restored ties with friendly countries that had been affected during the PTI rule, and focused on the revival of the CPEC. The PTI had targeted the CPEC by putting all its projects on the back-burner under negative propaganda. Pakistan was expecting $30 to $50 billion investments during the next 5 to 7 years in diverse fields if the CPEC projects had been continued at the pace of 2017-18.

The minister emphasized that the CPEC was a game-changer project not only for Pakistan but also for the region as a whole. The incumbent government was also focusing on modern industrial development, which could steer the economy in the right direction and create a prosperous society.

The current government’s biggest challenge was to meet the development budget in the prevailing economic situation. The country’s development budget had reduced to Rs550 billion after the PTI’s four-year rule. As demands of about Rs1,900 billion were to be adjusted against the available envelope of Rs727 billion in the next fiscal year, the government would focus only on projects that were near completion, Iqbal concluded.