KARACHI: Already under fire from the Supreme Court, which had asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to explain why he used a state property for a private function where he addressed the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) last week, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government is likely to face another problem as the Pakistan Peoples party (PPP) on Tuesday announced to challenge Islamabad’s move of tasking Corona Relief Tiger Force (CRTF) volunteers with checking prices of food items to help government control inflation.
The announcement from the mainstream opposition party came following criticism from different political circles after Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday had tasked the “controversial and idle” one million-strong volunteer CRTF with checking prices of food items and posting the figures on their portal.
A senior PPP leader said that the government move was in fact admission of its failure on administrative front which was setting new precedent of using a private group in state affairs.
“They [PTI] are a bunch of incompetent people and they are proving it every day,” said Palwasha Khan, deputy information secretary of the PPP while addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club.
“The decision of using Tiger Force to control inflation is in fact public announcement of failure of the government. It will on one hand allow a private group to influence the government institution, and on the other set the precedent of exploiting the state machinery. We opposed it [earlier] but the government didn’t pay any heed and now we will challenge it in court.”
She said the government decision to utilise services of the CRTF volunteers to check prices was a ‘joke’ and declared it another step towards proving the government a ‘puppet administration’.
The job of the state administration and machinery was not handed over to volunteers to save the skin of the government and the move could prove disastrous if such forces were used in other operations of the government, she added.
“The prices of vegetables and pulses have increased to such an extent that the common man could not afford more than a meal a day today and the federal government has failed to take any step to control mafias and cartels as they were linked to their crony capitalists. It’s now shifting the responsibility and admitting its defeat,” said Ms Khan.
She said the PPP would host a “massive power show” in the metropolis on Oct 18 from the platform of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) saying the event would be the “beginning of the end” for the PTI government.
The day, she said, would mark the death anniversary of more than 200 victims of the twin Karsaz blasts at the homecoming procession of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in 2007.
“There’s a consensus in the country that incompetent and selected government of Imran Khan has become a burden on the country, the people and the economy. It should step down before the public ire kicks this dispensation into the dustbin of history,” she said.
“The government has already conceded its defeat. The use of force and state machinery against the opposition parties before the Oct 16 rally in Gujranwala is in fact reflection of the panic. The PPP workers are being harassed, our corner meetings are being raided and our offices have been forcibly closed. But we will not back out from here. The countdown has begun.”
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2020