ISLAMABAD: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Khursheed Shah Wednesday took a hit at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government over its decision to approach the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package. “PTI had said they will not approach the IMF and Prime Minister Imran Khan while he was in the opposition had stated that he should be hanged if he seeks financial aid,” Shah said while addressing the National Assembly session. “But now that you are going to IMF, there is nothing wrong in taking a U-turn over it,” he mocked. “The constitution does not state that you cannot take a U-turn and it is not a sin,” he continued.In an apparent dig at Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, Shah said, “Those who were our spokespersons until yesterday are now sitting on the other side. They jumped the ship after looking at the glossy surface of the other side.” Criticizing the rise in inflation in the last two months, the PPP leader said, “The price of roti has increased from Rs 7 to Rs 10 and dollar has gone up by Rs 17. Even after such a big change, they are saying ‘tabdeeli’ has not yet come.”“The debt increased as soon as they assumed power. The stock exchange dropped from 52,000 points to 36,000 points. Why does nobody talk about inflation and the crumbling economy now?” he asked. “People are worried and the government is also fearful. We want the parliament to run and the government to fulfill its agenda,” he added. Slamming Shehbaz Sharif’s arrest, Shah said, “For the first time since 1988, a sitting leader of the opposition has been arrested. We are not scared that this arrest will bring disaster, and have asked the government to make a committee to look into this matter.” Stating that his political career spans over 30 years, the PPP leader said, “There should be an investigation regarding where we have done this corruption that they [government] speak of. We do not know politics of hurling abuses.”Khurshid Shah countered the law minister’s earlier statement and said, “Matters pertaining to law and constitution can be discussed here. Parliament is not merely for debate. We gradually understood the importance of parliament and it is supreme. Parliament forms laws for institutions.”Taking the floor after Shah concluded his speech, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said, “They should not talk about victimization. The vision of this party started after Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s hanging so they should not talk about victimization.” “Officials in NAB were appointed by the previous governments and not even a sweeper in the bureau has been hired by us. NAB chairman was appointed by PPP and PML-N and at the time Nawaz Sharif was prime minister and Khursheed Shah the opposition leader,” he said, adding that not even a single case against the Sharif brothers was initiated by the PTI. To Shehbaz’s speech on the floor of the House, Chaudhry said, “I am very glad that the opposition leader repeatedly said he will be ashamed and leave the parliament if corruption is proven against him but I want to ask if the same rules apply on his brother also.”Following Chaudhry’s speech, PML-N leader Khawaja Asif took the floor and said, “Those four seats on which PTI alleged rigging and raised a hue and cry have still been won by the PML-N. We had to face dictatorship for eight years.” He counseled the PTI government to not rehash the blunders committed by PML-N and PPP in 1980s and 90s.Keeping verbal onslaught up, Kh Asif claimed that PTI’s model of governance is tantamount to despotism. He also warned at the same time that it could not take long to level the score. “Government shouldn’t shift the blame on us if it wanted to hike tariffs [of gas and electricity] as masses can’t be ridiculed anymore. If you (federal govt) want to constitute committee on all the agreements inked by PML-N, then go ahead with it,” he said. “Owners of offshore companies are being made ministers and advisors by Imran Khan. Government has set a bad precedent by arresting leader of the opposition,” he added.Published in Daily Times, October 18th 2018.