Pakistan would’ve suffered economic collapse had PTI’s govt continued: Shabbar Zaidi


  • Zaidi alleges PTI lawmakers forced him into forgiving non-taxpayers.
  • He says Imran Khan removed Asad Umar due to economic crisis.
  • Zaidi says Khan did not listen to him when he told him to fix things.

A top official during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government said the country would have economically collapsed had the Imran Khan-led regime completed its tenure.

The PTI’s tenure was cut short in April 2022, when the government was ousted after Khan was removed as the prime minister through a no-confidence motion, paving the way for Shehbaz Sharif and allies to come into power.

One of the primary reasons behind ousting the Khan-led government was economic mismanagement and the increasing burden of inflation on the masses, as claimed by the now rulers, who were then in opposition.

“Had this […] government continued, the party would not have even secured 5% votes as the country would have economically collapsed,” former Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) boss Shabbar Zaidi told Geo News’ Shahzeb Khanzada.

The tax collection body’s ex-chief said he had advised Khan to rectify his government’s shortcomings and “settle things, but he was not in the mood of listening [to anyone]”.

Although Zaidi — whose stint as the federal tax collection body’s chief lasted from 2019-2020 — mentioned that when he pointed out the economic crises Pakistan was headed towards during PTI’s tenure, Khan had removed Asad Umar as the finance minister.

Forgiving non-taxpayers

Zaidi also spoke about influentials forcing him to drop the cases against people close to them or those who were politically important.

The economist said he “mistakenly” sent a notice to a landowner in Multan. “I asked him to reconcile his wealth with his agricultural income.”

In response, 40 parliamentarians “barged into my office”, led by then-foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, he said.

Zaidi said ex-lawmaker Sardar Nasrullah Khan Dreshak, during the meeting, told him that the people in his office were “MNAs from South Punjab, and the government cannot continue without them”.

“I have seen a lot of governments […] leave him […] you’re a kid now,” Zaidi quoted Dareshak as telling him.

The ex-FBR chief said he tried bringing the tobacco industry people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the frontier regions into the tax net, but he faced strong opposition from then-NA speaker Asad Qaiser.

“You cannot do this…you cannot enter our areas,” Zaidi quoted Qaiser as saying.


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