ISLAMABAD: Lambasting the government over its economic policies, senior vice president of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that Pakistan is at number three in the list of countries with highest price hike.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, Mr Abbasi, without mentioning his source of information, claimed that in the list of 200 countries with highest inflation, Pakistan was trailing at number three behind Argentine and Turkey.
The former prime minister said if the government continued with the same policies, Pakistan would soon acquire number one position on the list.
He ridiculed the government’s logic that price hike was a worldwide phenomenon. He claimed that Pakistan had the highest inflation in the region as there was no such price hike in neighbouring India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and even Afghanistan.
PPP asks why petrol being sold at costliest rates though global prices are falling
Mr Abbasi said that the country’s import bill had touched the record mark of $8.1 billion for the first time. In June, the import bill was $6.3bn. He claimed that the highest import bill during the PML-N’s government was $5.1bn. However, he said at that time the country was making progress and the government resolved the problem of electricity and gas.
The PML-N leader said today no minister or head of any institution could face the public. He asked the government to make a public confession that it had failed in addressing economic issues of the country.
He was of the view that fresh and fair elections were the only solution to the present crises.
He predicted that soon Adviser to the PM on Finance Shaukat Tarin would be ousted like his predecessor Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, who was sacked by the government over his failure to check price hike only days after his defeat in the Senate elections. Mr Abbasi said it was yet to be seen if Mr Tarin faced the same fate after coming into the Senate or before it.
He also criticised State Bank of Pakistan governor, saying he would also have to face accountability.
Mr Abbasi also lamented the government’s decision of not decreasing the prices of petroleum products despite reduction in the world prices. Instead of providing relief to the masses, he said, the government had increased Rs4 levy on petrol.
Earlier, PML-N president and Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in a statement said the PTI government’s economic policy and disastrous steps had crashed the Pakistan Stock Exchange. He warned if the country was not saved from this “corrupt, incapable and incompetent” government immediately, it would be too late to save Pakistan and they would all be crying over spilt milk.
Similarly, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) information secretary and MNA Shazia Marri in her statement questioned as to “why Imran Khan’s incompetent government is selling petrol at highest rates to people of the country while global oil prices are being dropped?”
Ms Marri said Prime Minister Imran Khan should be ready to face the people of Pakistan who would be on roads and streets against the government over the rising prices of petroleum products on December 10.
Ms Marri said that neighbouring India had reduced the petrol prices and was also reducing government taxes, but the PTI government was not providing any relief to the people.
“It is the injustice and height of oppression that Imran Khan’s government is receiving up to Rs27 from the people on per liter on account of petroleum levy,” she added.
The PPP MNA said it was a fraud with the people of Pakistan that the lowest per capita income country like Pakistan was being compared with the most prosperous countries in the prices of petroleum products.
Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2021