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PESHAWAR/TIMERGARA: The leaders of different political parties have criticised the government for increasing prices of different items in the mini-budget.

In their separate statements, the political leaders expressed serious concerns over increase in the prices of daily use items and said that the nation would not forgive the government for presenting the ‘unjust’ mini-budget.

Qaumi Watan Party provincial chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao said that the mini-budget would increase inflation and affect the poor. He said that the prices of gas and electricity had been hiked that would badly affect people.

Political parties say people to take to streets against price hike

“Instead of providing some relief to the have-nots, the government has increased their problems,” he remarked. He added that the ruling PTI used to criticise the previous government for imposing indirect taxes, but then its government adopted the same practice that was sheer injustice with the poor people.

“Indirect taxation is regressive taxation, which affects the low income people the most and have less effect on the rich,” said Mr Sherpao. He said that the government wanted to pass on the burden to the people instead of cutting its expenditures.

The QWP leader said that government had announced to take austerity measures to reduce expense, but it did not take any practical step for it. He said that contrary to its claims, the government was also relying on loans.

Mr Sherpao said that PTI should tell the nation about the impact of its measures to ensure transparency. He said that rulers were claiming to generate Rs100 billion through innovative measures without explaining what those innovative measures were.

He said the mini-budget was silent about the election promises made by PTI about constructing five million houses, creating 10 million jobs and planting 10 billion trees.

Pakistan People’s Party provincial president Mohammad Humayun Khan also condemned the government policies and described the mini-budget an attempt to snatch livelihood sources from the poor people.

He said that the mini-budget proved that PTI had no capacity to run the government. He said that the ruling party had announced to provide relief to the nation within 100 days but all the claims proved false.

Jamaat-i-Islami Peshawar district general secretary Atteequr Rehman said that raise in prices of power and gas would increase transport fares and as result the ultimate sufferers would be poor people. He said that people would take to streets if the decision was not reversed.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz provincial information secretary Ikhtiar Wali also expressed concerns over the price hike and said that people would see the real face of the rulers.

He said that running the affairs of government was not an easy job. He said that levelling allegations was easy but proving the same was difficult. He added that it would be better for the government to withdraw its decision regarding the price hike to save its face.

Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) also slammed the federal government for imposition of Rs178 billion new taxes, surge in customs duty on more than 5,000 items and increase in regulatory duty on 900 export items as well as hike of 143 per cent in price of gas in the mini-budget.

SCCI president Zahidullah Shinwari said that lifting restrictions on non-tax filers to purchase real estate and automobiles would discourage the tax filers. He said that Rs50 billion was allocated to Karachi in the budget but Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that was affected by war against terrorism and extremism was neglected.

He said that only export-oriented industry was given relief while tariff for commercial consumer and power sector was increased by 40 per cent and 57 per cent respectively.

The SCCI chief said that no measures were taken by the government to broaden the tax base while additional burden was put on tax filers. He said that regulatory duty was imposed to reduce budget deficit that would increase the prices of commodities and affect people.

Mr Shinwari said that the cost of production in export sector would enhance with increase in price of gas that could create difficulties for Pakistani products in the global market.

The workers of various political parties in Lower Dir also criticised government for increase in the price of gas and imposition of taxes in Malakand division.

ANP activist Buzarg Ahmad Jan, JI’s Syed Musharaf Shah Jan, PPP’s Aman Khan and others said in separate statements that people had voted for PTI to resolve their problems but the ruling increased their hardships.

They said that PTI proved that it was not capable to run the affairs of the government.

Former nazim of Samar Bagh union council Advocate Abdul Rehman also flayed government for imposition of taxes on the residents of Malakand division.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018