LAHORE: PML-N president and opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that the government had introduced a “minibudget” by imposing new taxes worth billions of rupees in the form of increase in electricity, gas and petroleum prices.

“Whatever I had said in the budget speech about the government’s plan to bring a minibudget proved right today as it has hugely burdened the people with new taxes in the form of huge increase in electricity, gas and petroleum prices,” he said in a statement here on Friday.

Rejecting the latest increase in electricity and petroleum prices, Shehbaz termed it a “cruel decision by Imran Niazi”.

“The PTI presented a fraudulent budget and lied to the entire nation and the world. If this government is allowed to carry on any longer, it will bring the national economy to a grinding halt. Millions more will be unemployed while millions are facing abject poverty and starvation. Imposition of 17 per cent sales tax on exempted items, increase in petrol, electricity prices is terrorism against the people and the economy,” Shehbaz said.

The opposition leader further said the government had “dropped a new bomb” on the people at a time when inflation and unemployment was at an all-time high and the economy was facing total collapse because of its [government’s] corruption and incompetence.

“Imran Niazi is sacrificing the economy and the nation on the altar of IMF. The PTI government blindly acted on the terms of the IMF and did not bother to care about the public interest. Imran Niazi is working for the IMF, not for the people and Pakistan,” he said.

“Imran Niazi takes steps that increase inflation, then stages a drama by complaining that people do not understand the reasons for the rising inflation,” the opposition leader said.

However, he said, the nation knew very well who was responsible for all this and who was perpetrating this oppression on them every day.

He said the actual problem was the “corruption, lies and historic incompetence” of the present rulers.

He said the people were struggling to feed their families, while the government had done nothing but dodging them with lies while crushing them under skyrocketing inflation, historic debt and unemployment.

Shehbaz warned that severe inflation was creating a serious problem of economic viability of the country which was not a good omen for Pakistan.

“But, Imran Niazi is a tyrant, corrupt and incompetent ruler who was indifferent to all this,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2021

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