Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Friday fired a broadside at the incumbent government, terming the recent increase in electricity tariff, petrol price and taxes a “mini-budget” and “terrorism against the people and the economy”.
According to a statement issued on Friday, Shehbaz expressed deep sorrow over the 17% per cent sales tax imposed on tax-exempted items, saying that he had predicted in his budget speech that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) would soon bring a mini-budget and that prediction has turned out to be true.
“Whatever I said in the budget speech has turned out to be true,” the PML-N chief said. “I had said that the government would bring a mini-budget and today it has become true.”
In addition, the opposition leader said, it has been proved that the government has “deceived” the people in the name of budget.
“If this government runs, the economy will not run,” he said, apparently in line with his recent demand for holding “immediate and transparent elections” to put the country back on the path of development and prosperity.
Shehbaz said that if the government keeps going on the current track then it would be hard for the poor people to earn livelihood and run their business.
“Imposition of 17 percent sales tax on tax-exempt items, increase in petrol price and electricity tariff is terrorism against the people and the economy,” he said, adding that inflation and unemployment were already at a record-high level yet the government dropped a new bomb amid worsening economic conditions.
Shehbaz said Prime Minister Imran Khan was sacrificing the economy and nation for the sake of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme. Reportedly, in a bid to remain in the IMF programme, the government has recently sought the federal cabinet’s approval to increase electricity tariff by Rs1.68 per unit or nearly 14%.
The PML-N leader said that the government was blindly acting on the terms set by the IMF and showing that it did not care about public interest. He maintained that the prime minister himself takes steps that cause inflation and then complains to the nation that the people do not understand the reasons for rising inflation.
“The nation is well aware of what is happening to them and who is doing this oppression every day,” he said, adding that the problem was not the understanding of the nation but the corruption, lies and historical incompetence of the rulers.
“Pakistan and the nation are being severely punished for the incompetence and corruption of the rulers,” Shehbaz said, expressing that the government does not realise that it has become extremely difficult for the people to make a living when the taxes, inflation and debt are constantly increasing.
Inflation has already reached alarming levels, he said, adding that a sharp rise in the prices of petroleum products and electricity was “cruelty”. “[PM] Imran Niazi is working for the IMF, not for the people and Pakistan,” he alleged.
Shehbaz said severe inflation was creating a serious economic problem, which was not a good omen for Pakistan. While rejecting the increase and calling the rulers corrupt and incompetent, he demanded that the government should reverse the decision.
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