LAHORE -  Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf leader Asad Umar on Saturday advised the government to declare an economic emergency and change the disastrous economic policies of Ishaq Dar, whose economic model has drastically failed during the last four and a half years. The government should appoint a full time finance minister as Mr Dar is engaged with accountability court most of the time, he added.

Addressing a press conference here at APTMA House, he said that the PTI has also prepared its textile policy in consultation with the industry which will be announced in Nov. He said the PTI has warned repeatedly that the failed economic policies of the last four years risk creating a national security threat.

He strongly criticized Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and said the current economic policies are sinking Pakistan into a debt trap. He said that Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities swelled to an alarming level of Rs25.1 trillion by June this year with a net increase of Rs2.5 trillion in a year, exposing the country to many risks attached with repayment of mounting obligations.

The failure to reform the tax system has resulted in desperate measures like imposing the highest ever GST of 50% on diesel, an overall increase in GST on all products particularly petroleum products and the draconian increase in minimum tax on services. Despite massive new taxation in the budget the first quarter of this fiscal year has ended with FBR revenues Rs.49 billion less than forecast in the budget.

He said that the failure to make the economy competitive has resulted in continuing current account deficits despite the massive windfall gain received by the economy in the shape of lower oil prices. The increasing tax burden is crushing the life out of the economy with businesses reluctant to invest.

Giving some figures, Asad said the country's external debt and liabilities have increased to $9 billion since last year and now stand at $83 billion. He further said the external debt has risen sharply after the end of the International Monetary Fund's package to Pakistan and reserves have continued to fall.