Sheikh Rashid warns 'chaotic' May could result in resignations

Published April 26, 2022
Photo of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at a press conference. — DawnNewsTV
Photo of Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed at a press conference. — DawnNewsTV

Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Tuesday warned that the upcoming month would be "politically chaotic" as "resignations could be taken or given" and pegged elections as the solution to the increasing national challenges.

In a tweet earlier today, he said that immediately after Eid-ul-Fitr there would be a frenzy in the political scenario. "Resignations could be taken and resignations could be given."

Rashid claimed that the sole solution to the country's problems was elections which should be held as soon as possible.

The former minister said that the government was "digging its own grave" by giving into the pressure of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and curbing fuel subsidies. "Imran Khan was going to get us 30 per cent cheaper gas, wheat and petrol from Russia," he said.

"This could have given the public a big relief and inflation would have reduced," Rashid said, adding that "imperialist conspiracies" deprived the nation of cheap gas, petrol and wheat.

He also warned that abolishing fuel subsidies would provide impetus to the anti-government movement which would push the government towards its end.

Rashid's speculation comes after Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said in Washington, where he had gone to hold talks with the IMF to negotiate terms of the next disbursement, that the government would have to increase the price of petroleum products to get Pakistan’s economy back on track and to revive the stalled bailout programme with the IMF.

The IMF, in 2019, had approved a $6 billion loan over three years for Pakistan but disbursement has been slowed by concerns about the pace of reforms.

“They've talked about removing the subsidy on fuel. I agree with them,” Ismail, himself a former IMF economist, had said at the Atlantic Council. “We can't afford to do the subsidies that we're doing. So we're going to have to curtail this,” he had added.

He also hinted that besides withdrawing the Rs21 per litre subsidy on petrol, the government could also increase the fuel prices even further.

The IMF, meanwhile, said in a statement after the talks that it was “agreed that prompt action is needed to reverse the unfunded subsidies which have slowed discussions for the 7th review.”

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