Opposition mocks PM’s package

PPP declares it ‘nothing but a joke’; PML-N says ‘real relief will be PM’s resignation’

Our Correspondent November 03, 2021
PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto. PHOTO: FILE


The opposition on Wednesday lashed out at Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Rs20 billion subsidy relief for 20 million poor families announced earlier in the day, saying that it was unlikely to achieve its goals.

The PPP and the PML-N – two major opposition parties – rejected the relief package, pointing out the flaws in it as well as criticising the premier’s speech.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari described the premier’s relief package as "nothing but a joke".

“The PM claims a few families will benefit from the 30% discount for only six months on ghee, flour and lentils,” he tweeted.

“In three years, ghee increased 108%, flour 50% and gas 300%. [A] 30% is too little, too late for 200 million people facing historic inflation, poverty and unemployment,” he added.

PPP Senator Sherry Rehman also tweeted that the speech of “Blame Minister” of Pakistan was “bizarre”.

“[PM Imran] Says all the unprecedented inflation, tsunami of oil, gas prices, essentials is because of past governments and international markets. The PPP faced higher global oil prices over $130 per barrel but local petrol was half of today's prices," she wrote.

She further wrote that the prime minister had not taken responsibility for the economic crisis, skyrocketing inflation, unprecedented public debt, the plummeting rupee and "just said get ready for more price hike".

"And oh, a 'relief package' for 20 million out of 220 million people. Which package? Ghee prices rose as he spoke," the senator pointed out, referring to the notification issued by the Utility Stores Corporation.

PPP leader Shazia Marri said PM Imran Khan was compelled to address the nation because of the opposition parties’ protest movement against inflation.

“There is a historic rise in the unemployment and inflation in the country and a historic depreciation of the rupee,” said Marri, adding that the premier was “trying to make excuses”.

Read more: PM announces Rs120b subsidy programme amid rising inflation

Addressing a news conference, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb said the real relief to the people would be the premier’s resignation.

“The prime minister's resignation is the only solution to rid the country of crises, including inflation, unemployment and poverty,” she added.

 "You have no ability to decide the fate of 220 million Pakistanis. You are here to facilitate the mafia that has good terms with you."

The PML-N leader said if the premier actually intended to provide relief to the people, then he should bring down the wheat price to Rs35 per kg and power tariff to Rs11 per unit.

She also demanded that the government should make its agreement with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) public.

"I condemn the loss of lives of policemen in the incident and how government representatives gave conflicting statements on the matter."

Marriyum demanded that not only the agreement should be made public, but should be presented in parliament for discussion.

Speaking to a private TV channel, PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair said offering subsidies was the PTI-led government’s “acceptance of the failure” that it could not control prices.

He added that someone had to pay for the subsidies offered to the people.

“In the end, the government will cover it by increasing taxes or taking more loans or printing more notes, which will increase the inflation.”

Taking to Twitter, Jamaat-e-Islami chief Sirajul Haq wrote that the prime minister had not accurately portrayed the facts in his speech.

"If you want to compare inflation [in Pakistan] with that in the US and Europe, then mention the facilities available to the people of those countries,” he added,

"Inflation and unemployment in Pakistan are higher than [other countries] in the region. The government’s boat is sinking and it has only itself to blame."




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