Miftah faces growing wrath in Sharif’s party

PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali lashes out at finance minister for increasing power tariff

Our Correspondent August 26, 2022
State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali addressing a press conference in Multan. PHOTO: ONLINE


PML-N leader Abid Sher Ali on Thursday lashed out at his own party man, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail, for increasing the power tariffs, adding to the miseries of the common man.

Ali, while addressing a news conference alongside fellow party leader Talal Chaudhry, pointed out that while PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister, the country was under deep crises.

“But still he had not allowed the electricity tariffs to increase,” he added.

“Nawaz Sharif never compromised on the issues of the masses. He never threw electricity bombs at them,” he maintained.

The PML-N leader claimed that there was pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) even then, but they were dealt with.

“When I hear Miftah Ismail sahib today, I feel sad when he says that increasing prices is okay. It is not okay. When people who earn Rs20,000 have to pay bills of Rs30,000, they hate you,” he claimed.

“Miftah sahib, leave your office once and meet the people. You will understand what they are passing through. This not PML-N’s ideology,” Ali added.

He conceded that it was important to clean up the “mess” left behind by PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan. However, he added that this was not the way to do it.

He proposed renegotiating the agreement Imran had reached with the IMF.

Speaking about the hike in petroleum prices, the PML-N leader maintained that his party had never allowed the fuel prices to increase during its tenure, adding that it always made slabs.

He wanted the inflated power bills to be withdrawn. “I have appealed to Mian Nawaz Sharif to intervene and have it reversed.”

Ali also urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to chalk out people-friendly policies aimed at providing relief to the people.

He called for the government to “shun the IMF agenda and help inflation-hit people”.

Ali noted that the government was becoming unpopular among the people while trying to steer the country out of its crises.

“Mr prime minister, you have always delivered in Punjab and your sympathies should reflect in your steps, otherwise we will not be able to visit constituencies,” he added.

He further said the country should not be pushed towards a civil war.

The PML-N leader also criticised Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir and said he should visit the offices of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) to see how women were standing in lines there.

Around a week ago, Miftah had announced that the petroleum levy would be further jacked up from next month.

He also refused to change the course of economic policies that pulled the country back from the brink of default.

“Should we start repeating mistakes and picking fights with the IMF particularly when the economy has shown signs of stability?” a defiant finance minister had questioned while addressing a news conference.

A journalist had asked him about a tweet by PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz where she claimed: “Mian Sahib strongly opposed the decision and said he could not add burden of even a penny on the people and if the government had any compulsion he was not part of the decision and left the meeting”.

The minister had replied that the ex-PM was part of the meeting that deliberated on the petrol rate.

However, he had added that it would not be “appropriate” for him to comment any further on the issue.

PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Zardari had also disagreed with the decision.

“The PPP is a part of the federal government and supports it. It should consult us on such important decisions,” he said in a statement.

(With input from agencies)


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