Shehbaz tears down PM Imran's 'relief package'

PML-N leader says self-deception to take seriously anything promised by 'a govt with unreliable budget figures'


Our Correspondent November 04, 2021
PHOTO: FILE

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LAHORE:

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition Shehbaz Sharif rejected the relief package revealed by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday.

In his statement, Shehbaz said that just like the promises and budget of the present government, their so-called relief package is also a bundle of lies.

The PML-N leader questioned whether the government had not announced a tax-free budget for the current year.

“Now, during an address to the nation, they are confessing that petrol prices will increase. When petrol is more expensive, the price of electricity and gas will go up, how will there not be inflation?” he further asked.

Shehbaz maintained that it is self-deception to take anything seriously by a government that has unreliable budget figures.

He said the country was burdened with debt and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)'s conditions have taken the nation on a perilous path, adding that 'relief' and the 'Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf' were two contradictory things.

Further slamming the government, the opposition leader said that price of edible oil was announced to be Rs65 per litre in utility stores at the time of the premier’s address. Sugar, on the other hand, has crossed Rs130 per kilogramme in the wholesale market, with prices increasing by Rs5 in just two days.

Shehbaz also said that the stock of sugar in the country has been reduced to that of 15 days, while the premier fulfils his desire to give speeches on television.

“The nation does not trust any of the promises made by this government,” he said. “After record inflation, one should not give speeches to the nation, rather they should confess to their failures and resign,” the PML-N president stated.

According to Shehbaz, declaring inflation a global problem does not hide the [PM] Imran's “incompetence, wrong decisions and corruption”.

He further stated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had shown how to truly run a government, and that he [Nawaz] had brought the growth rate up to 5.8% and inflation down to 3.6%.

“If you take a loan of Rs15,000 billion in three years, there will be inflation and unemployment,” Shehbaz said, adding that those who cannot provide relief to the populace cannot govern.

“A government of tyranny is unacceptable, and this government stabs people in the neck while saying they are providing relief,” he said.

Shehbaz claimed that the nation remembers the 'if inflation rises then the prime minister is a thief' lesson.

“A government that promised to end subsidy from the IMF is now cheating to give a Rs120 billion subsidy package,” he said, further questioning where money will come from and how it will be spent.

He maintained that there was no answer to the serious questions about the Rs1,200 billion being spent on Covid and the Karachi package.

Shehbaz further asked what IMF conditions the government was agreeing to, and why were they not being shared with the parliament.

On Wednesday, PM Imran announced “Pakistan’s biggest ever” subsidy package worth Rs120 billion to support 130 million people from the impact of inflation, as part of the government’s efforts for making the country a welfare state.

Under the package that is a part of the Rs260 billion Ehsaas Initiative, around 20 million families, which make up for 53% of the country’s total population, would avail a 30% discount on three food commodities – ghee, flour and pulses – for the next six months.

Imran unveiled the subsidy package in a televised address to the nation. He said that 30% subsidy on ghee, flour and pulses would be given to the less privileged segments of society in view of the prevailing inflation in order to protect them from price hike.

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