Islamabad [Pakistan]: A war of words between Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan erupted on Twitter on Saturday over the issue to bypass all the procedures for selling assets to foreign countries in order to prevent Islamabad from defaulting.
In a fiery debate on Twitter hours after the cabinet approved an ordinance, Khan questioned the credibility of “imported govt” for the sale of national assets, reported Geo News. “How can imported government brought to power through US conspiracy, led by crime minister, who’s family along with (PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali) Zardari have volumes written on their corruption, be trusted with the sale of national assets (and) that too (through) bypassing all procedural (and) legal checks.”
Pakistan’s cabinet abolished regulatory checks including the applicability of six relevant laws in a desperate move to save the country from default through the emergency sale of state’s assets to foreign countries, reported The Express Tribune.
These are the Companies Act, 2017, Privatisation Commission Ordinance, 2000, Public Procurement Regulatory Authority Ordinance, 2002, Public-Private Partnership Authority Act, 2017, Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan Act, 1997, Securities Act, 2015 or any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than the ordinance.
Khan further accused them of “plundering Pakistan for the last 30 years” and for the “present economic meltdown.”
“These thieves should never be allowed to sell our national assets in the devious manner they are attempting. The nation will never trust them with our national assets,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, replying to the PTI chairman’s tweets, PM Shehbaz said that he “suffers from a memory loss and needs a few reminders,” reported Geo News.
He wrote, “One, as per Transparency International report, corruption increased during his rule. Even transfers/postings were on sale in addition to big scams.”
“Two, the people are paying the price of how he mismanaged the economy,” he added.
Highlighting the third point, he accused Khan of “deeply hurting” the global prestige and standing of the country and its relations with friendly countries, reported Geo News.
“Four, he has lost a sense of balance in his lust for power, which is evidenced by his habitual recourse to lies, propaganda [and] blatant twisting of facts,” he wrote on Twitter.
According to the ordinance, no court in the country shall entertain an application, petition or suit against any process or act of sale of assets to a foreign entity. However, legal experts say that the courts do not accept such ouster clauses, reported The Express Tribune.
The ordinance states that no court shall grant an injunction or entertain any application for an injunction against any process undertaken, intended or purported to be undertaken for a commercial transaction or agreement.
No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceedings or action in damages can be claimed against people who will be involved in selling these assets.
Similarly, no investigating agency, anti-graft agency, law enforcement agency or court can initiate an inquiry into or initiate an investigation for any procedural lapse or irregularity by any person in a commercial transaction or agreement under the ordinance unless there exists evidence of personal monetary gain with corroborative evidence of the link between such monetary gain to the undue benefit rendered to any part of the agreement.
No person will be sued in his personal capacity for action taken in his official capacity.
However, sources said the price discovery mechanism could become controversial in the absence of transparency and low stock values due to a plunge at the Pakistan Stock Exchange, reported The Express Tribune.