PESHAWAR: The leaders of various political parties have expressed concerns over the uncontrolled inflation and urged federal government to take austerity measures to overcome economic crisis in the country.
Awami National Party provincial general secretary Sardar Hussain Babak told Dawn that his party never compromised on rights of people and always raised the core issues like price hike, unemployment, power loadshedding. He asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to take immediate steps to control inflation.
He said that federal government was legally bound to give Khyber Pakhtunkhwa its constitutional rights including water charges, net hydel profit, tobacco cess, gas and oil royalties to enable the province to initiate mega development schemes. He said that instead of using delaying tactics, the centre should release the KP’s pending dues amounting to billions of rupees.
Political parties express concern over inflation
Mr Babak said his party was deeply concerned over the unprecedented increase in prices of daily use commodities. He said that people had lost purchasing power as they unable to meet their routine expenditures.
He said that government should reopen the trade routes with neighbouring countries, especially Afghanistan, so that people could start business activities and earn livelihood for their families. He also stressed the need for early completion of work on Chashma right bank canal to irrigate thousands of acres of land and make KP a self-sufficient in food.
Mr Babak, who is parliamentary leader of ANP in the provincial assembly, demanded implementation of 18th Amendment so that the provinces get control over their resources. Similarly, Pakistan Peoples Party provincial senior vice president Syed Ayub Shah said that all stakeholders should sit together to discuss the issues otherwise the country would face Sri Lanka like crisis and the federal government would be unable to control the situation.
He said that people were not ready to hear that former prime minister Imran Khan was responsible for the price hike. He said that it was high time to take concrete steps at federal level and find a viable solution to the problems. He said that people had attached great expectations to the Shehbaz Sharif-led government to ensure implementation of its austerity plan by curtailing the privileges of ministers and bureaucrats.
He said that government should control non-developmental expenditures to stop unnecessary imports and provide relief to the people living below the poverty line. He said that maximum of the leading political parties were members of the coalition setup, therefore, they were bound to ensure good governance and control wastage of national wealth in name of protocols.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl provincial spokesman Maulana Abdul Jalil said that his party chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman had already demanded 50 per cent cut in the perks of ministers and bureaucrats to overcome the crisis.
He blamed Imran Khan for the current situation and expressed the hope that the prices of daily use commodities would come down within six months. He said that the entire nation was passing through a difficult time and it was duty of both government and opposition to prioritise national interests.
Qaumi Watan Party provincial senior vice-president Tariq Ahmad Khan said that federal government should devise an effective plan to curtail its expenditures. He said that all the VIPs should surrender the perks immediately otherwise the situation would worsen after the impact of hike in prices of power and petroleum products in July next.
He said that it was duty of federal government to control inflation otherwise the people would not feel any difference between the governments of Imran Khan and Shehbaz Sharif.
Published in Dawn, June 21st, 2022