PESHAWAR: The opposition parties on Saturday rejected the government’s plan to increase oil prices and warned that the people would agitate to topple the government if the inflation rate wasn’t controlled immediately.

Pakistan Peoples Party provincial president Mohammad Humayun Khan declared the oil price hike a petrol bomb and said it would hit the poor people really hard ahead of Ramazan.

“The increase in petrol prices will cause serious financial problems for low income groups, daily wagers and those without job,” he told Dawn.

He said the government’s failure to take effective steps for economic stability would lead the country to total destruction.

Qaumi Watan Party leader Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao flayed the government over higher oil prices saying it will financially cripple the poor people.

Insists ruling PTI following IMF orders to get loans

Addressing workers at his party’s secretariat here, he said the government was following the commands of the International Monetary Fund to get loans as first it increased power and gas rates and now, the rates of lifesaving drugs and petroleum products had been hiked.

The QWP leader said higher oil prices would squeeze the people’s purchasing power by unleashing a fresh wave of inflation.

He said the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leaders had claimed in the past that they would bring the petrol price down to Rs38 per liter but the people wondered where they had gone.

Mr Sikandar said the PTI lacked the ability to steer the country out of crises.

He warned that the people would take to the streets if the government didn’t control escalating inflation.

Awami National Party general secretary Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the government had yielded to the IMF for loans with the people being the ultimate sufferers.

He said Prime Minister Imran Khan wanted to change his team for incapability but ironically, he didn’t admit his inability to manage the country’s affairs through a sustainable economic policy.

“Former finance minister Asad Umar, who was declared a competent economist by the PTI before the elections, failed to prove his ability and instead, he caused the prices of petroleum products, natural gas and power to escalate. Ironically, things didn’t change after his replacement with Abdul Hafeez Sheikh as the adviser to prime minister on finance,” he said.

The ANP leader said efforts were underway to reverse 18th Constitutional Amendment and pave the way for presidential form of government in the country.

He asked the premier to step down before national economy collapsed.

Jamaat-i-Islami provincial chief Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan flayed the hike in oil prices and announced that his party would hold rallies across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa today (Sunday) to force the government to withdraw the increase.

He said government was adopting anti-people policies and appointing filling key posts including the State Bank of Pakistan governor’s as directed by the IMF but the JI would protest it.

The PML-N provincial information secretary wondered how poor and jobless people could feed family at a time when prices of kitchen items were escalating.

“During the Islamabad sit-in, PTI chief Imran Khan had promised to cut fuel price to Rs40 per liter but he has miserably failed to fulfil that promise after coming to power,” he said.

The PML-N leader asked the government to give subsidy on essential commodities instead of pushing the people to the wall by increasing prices.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2019

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