LAHORE: As National Assembly opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif has demanded resignation from Prime Minister Imran Khan for “making the masses’ lives miserable” with unprecedented price hike and inflation, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz predicted that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government could “fall anytime”.

“Inflation goes up when petroleum prices rise. Everyone does not have ATMs like Imran Khan has to run the kitchen. People are not living in Banigala-like houses, nor have government vehicles. The masses are sick of this government which may fall anytime,”

Maryam told reporters outside Sharif’s Jati Umra residence here on Saturday before leaving for Faisalabad where the party held a public meeting in the evening.

She said the 220 million people of the country knew what kind of game was being played here.

“He (Imran Khan) is busy in political maneuvering, while the masses are suffering,” she said.

JI launches week-long agitation today

About the party’s anti-government strategy, she said: “I have asked the party lawmakers to go [back] to their constituencies and meet people to listen to their problems,” and added the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) would continue its struggle till the ouster of this “selected government”.

Maryam said earlier the PTI government’s main focus was on the opposition, but now it was struggling for its own survival.

She said the PTI’s plan to return to power again after 2023 general election had been dashed.

Meanwhile, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said Imran Khan should resign forthwith as he used to say that if inflation rose it meant the premier was corrupt.

“The people are cursing Imran Niazi for the phenomenal increase in petroleum prices,” he said.

“One minibudget after another is a telling proof of the economic failures of the PTI government. Imran Niazi should resign instead of killing people with inflation, because it [PM’s resignation] could be the only hope for relief to the nation,” he said and added that “despite getting concessional marks, Imran Niazi had completely failed to serve the country and the people.”

The opposition leader said: “How will the people survive with petrol at a historic high of Rs138? The impoverished people of Pakistan are [being] crushed to death under this unbearable inflation. How will they run their homes and feed their children? How will they pay Rs10,000 electricity bill out of a monthly income of less than Rs20,000? Are these the good days that Imran claims to have brought in Pakistan?.”

He said Imran had promised the nation to bring the petrol price down to Rs46 per litre, but instead hiked it up to historic level, adding “Is this the reality of Imran who is touted as a truthful leader?” he asked.

Shehbaz said the whooping increase in the petroleum prices would spark a chain reaction of inflation, pushing up rate of everything.

“Yet, Imran Niazi complains the people do not understand the cause of inflation,” he said.

“The nation understands very well that there is just one reason for this insane inflation, and that is Imran Khan Niazi,” he added.

SIRAJ: The Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) has announced countrywide week-long protest movement from Sunday (today) against the prevailing inflation and “anti-people policies” of the government.

JI Emir Sirajul Haq stated here on Saturday that during the week-long movement protest demonstrations would be held in all big and small cities of the country against the government. He appealed to the people to take a firm stand against injustice and become part of the JI’s movement to get rid of the ruling elite.

Mr Haq directed the JI leadership to contact the trade unions and the bodies representing farmers, lawyers, transporters and other segments of society to make the anti-inflation and anti-unemployment movement being launched by the party successful.

Media should also support the JI to get justice for the poor people, he added.

“The government has completely surrendered before the IMF. We reject the increase in petroleum prices and electricity tariff,” he said.

The JI emir said the per litre price of petrol has touched Rs138 at a time when a labourer was unable to earn this amount in a day. The medicines prices, he said, went up 14 times during the past three years, while the basic food items’ prices shot up by 100 to 300 per cent during the PTI’s rule.

Similarly, he regretted, the price of a DAP fertiliser bag had been raised from Rs3,000 to Rs7,000, while pesticides and agriculture machinery were beyond the farmers’ reach.

He said the government lacked the vision and ability to fix the economy and provide relief to the people.

Haq said the ruling elite had nothing to do with the people’s problems.

He urged the nation to reject the “status quo parties” and start a peaceful democratic struggle with the JI to transform Pakistan into an Islamic welfare state.

He said the already tried and tested faces and parties could no longer bring any change.

The JI was the only option left with the people, he said, vowing that the party would bring “real change” if voted to power.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2021

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