Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday reiterated claims that the Pakistani rupee is undervalued against the U.S. dollar, and its real value should be around Rs. 190.
Speaking with Geo News’ Hamid Mir, he blamed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s long march, prevailing political instability, negative statements, and lack of public confidence for the rupee’s current standing, which was recorded at 223.42 to the U.S. dollar at the close of business on Tuesday. Urging the opposition to avoid point-scoring on economic indicators, he maintained that the government intends to pass on the benefit of any reduction in global prices of fuel products to Pakistani consumers.
Elaborating on the impact of the opposition’s remarks on the national economy, Dar said PTI leaders should think twice before issuing statements that risked endangering the national interest. Referring to PTI chief Imran Khan’s claim that Pakistan’s default risk had soared from 5% to 80% since his government’s ouster, the minister lamented that the PTI-led government had borrowed “historic” loans and ruined the economy even before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and did further harm. Stressing that Khan’s statements were spreading panic needlessly, he vowed that Pakistan would not default and would repay all its loans on time.
“They must stop dirty politics,” he reiterated, maintaining that the ruling coalition was engaged with friendly countries as well as multilateral donors such as the World Bank, IMF, Asian Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and would repay all pending loans on time. To a question, he admitted that when Khan and other PTI leaders issued statements on the country’s economy, multilateral donors questioned the government on its ability to fulfill its commitments.
During his interview, the finance minister said he had received an interim report related to the leak of the income tax records of the wife and daughter-in-law of Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa, which were made public in a recent news report. Stressing that such leaks of confidential information were illegal, he said the interim had fixed responsibility on “some people,” adding that more information would be available once the final report had been prepared.
While Dar refused to identify the people involved, he said one was based in Lahore, while another was from Rawalpindi. He said there was a possibility some people involved might be authorized to examine income tax records because they were tasked with assessing the data.
“The law does not allow the release of Army chief or anyone else’s income tax returns without a court order,” he added.