Former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi criticised the constitution of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the rise in debts over the last decade, during his speech in the National Assembly on Saturday. “The government that could not collect Rs4,000 billion revenue, how will they collect Rs5,500 billion revenue,” he asked, expressing skepticism over the ruling party’s revenue target. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders also expressed concerns regarding the Commission of Inquiry to probe into loans taken by the governments during the last 10 years. “Those [who have] no basic knowledge about the economy will review the decisions of the prime ministers, Parliament and cabinets,” stated Abbasi. Abbasi also expressed scepticism over the ambitious revenue target of Rs5,550 billion set by the government in the proposed budget and asked: “[Government has been] unable to collect Rs4,000bn, how will it achieve a target with an additional Rs1,550bn?” “The only way [to achieve the revenue target] is by further increasing inflation and prices of electricity and gas and devaluing the rupee even more,” he said. “Previous government was paying Rs1,400bn interest on foreign loans. This government has allocated Rs2,900bn for interest. “This budget has been drawn up by the IMF (International Monetary Fund),” he declared. “Because of the incompetence of the government, we had to reduce our defense budget… These rulers have put the country’s national security at stake.” “Can you justify the imposition of [additional] taxes with your luxurious lifestyle and expenditures?” he asked. “People will not pay taxes until the rulers pay taxes.” The PML-N leader also alleged the ruling party had imposed taxes on the public due to their own incompetence. “Taxes would not have had been imposed if the government with its incompetency had not increased the interest rate. The masses are being burdened with additional taxes. The government has also increased gas and electricity tariffs,” the former premier added. “If this is the state of the economy in 10 months then what will happen in five years?” He said that the dire economic situation was the result of the incompetency of rulers. Abbasi was also critical of government’s decision to include those people in the tax net who earn more than Rs50,000 a month, calling it “unjustified”. The former premier said that the government had lost the confidence of the masses. “Can you justify the imposition of [additional] taxes with your luxurious lifestyle and expenditures?” he asked. “People will not pay taxes until the rulers pay taxes.” Abbasi also urged the speaker to issue the production orders of two more MNAs who are currently under arrest. He was referring to Mohsin Dawar and Ali Wazir, who are currently under police custody and are facing multiple charges including murder, attempted murder and interference in official affairs Abbasi stated the budget shows no structural change and that only the opposition is raising the issues the people will face if the budget passes.