LAHORE: Pakistan Industrial and Traders Associations Front (PIAF) chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh has demanded a high-level probe into massive devaluation of rupee by over 21% during last six months. He also demanded the State Bank to identify the reasons and share the findings with the business community. He said that Pak rupee has weakened by around Rs12 against the dollar from June 1, 2018 when the caretaker government assumed the office. The rupee slide has resulted in around Rs 1,200 billion increase in the country’s debt. The PIAF Chairman while issuing a statement alongwith senior vice chairman Tanvir Ahmed Sufi and vice chairman Shahzeb Akram, was of the view that the sharp downfall in the rupee value had not only disturbed almost all sectors of the economy but also brought a new wave of price spiral that would not die down despite dollar’s retreat. “Six rupee increase in dollar price in a single day was an unusual phenomenon for a country like Pakistan as the mafia involved in this affair made billions of rupees in a single day while on the other hand those who bought the greenback to fulfil their foreign commitments suffered a great loss.” Chairman piaf urged the government to take action against shortage of dollar in local market, besides controlling surge of dollar against rupee. PIAF Chairman said the local currency depreciation has inflicted heavy losses on the national economy. He said that depreciation valuation of one rupee against the dollar increases external debt by Rs 100 billion. He added the implications of depreciation are very serious on the budget deficit, inflation and on cost of doing business. He stated that it is too early to estimate the positive impact of rupee devaluation on exports as export orders will take longer time to materialize. Irfan Iqbal said that the illegal international transactions in dollar-denominations via Dubai are creating shortage of dollars in the Pakistani open market. The PIAF office bearers appealed the government to direct the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA), Intelligence Bureau, Customs Intelligence and the State Bank of Pakistan to keep strict vigilance to control currency and bullion smuggling. They urged the SBP to immediately take notice of the situation which is causing panic in the currency market. Published in Daily Times, July 21st 2018.