State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir came under criticism in the National Assembly on Friday over his remarks wherein he had defended the persistent devaluation of rupee against the US dollar. Speaking in the Lower House, PML-N leader Kh Asif said Baqir had made a political statement by saying that the historic fall in local currency’s value had benefited overseas Pakistanis. “He [Baqir] is not a political figure and in charge of country’s monetary policy so he is not authorised to make such political remarks,” he maintained. The PML-N lawmaker was referring to the central bank chief’s latest statement during a ceremony in London wherein he had said that families of overseas Pakistan had benefited from the rupee devaluation because the volume of their remittances were increasing due to exchange rate. “What will happen to the 220 million Pakistanis living in the country? Baqir is a representative of IMF [International Monetary Fund] who will return abroad after the job is done,” said Asif. The PML-N leader said Baqir, who was a serving IMF official before being appointed as Pakistan’s SBP chief in 2019, “destroyed Egypt’s economy first and now it is Pakistan’s turn”. Another PML-N lawmaker Murtaza Javed Abbasi slammed the government over the currency devaluation, saying the ruling PTI used to criticise PML-N’s finance minister Ishaq Dar for keeping the US dollar stable through “artificial means”. “I challenge the government to bring the US dollar to Rs100, even temporarily,” he said, alluding to the record depreciation in value of Pakistani rupee against the US dollar. Responding to Abbasi, Economic Affairs Minister Omar Ayub Khan said that the PML-N borrowed loans to the tune of $23.6 billion to keep the rupee stable. “The government is still paying $9.9 billion interest on these loans,” he added. On Thursday, the Pakistani rupee continued its downtrend as the currency dipped 0.28%, or Rs0.49, against the US dollar in the inter-bank market, touching a fresh all-time low of Rs173.96. Experts attributed the depreciation of the rupee to fears of harsh measures that might be taken before the resumption of the IMF loan programme.