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Pakistan opposition slams Imran Khan govt for hike in prices of petroleum, essential commodities

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 July 2021, 8:48 IST

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has slammed the ruling Imran Khan government for increasing prices of petroleum and essential commodities in the country.

Former chairman Senate, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was giving concessions to the elite by withdrawing subsidies from the working and poor class, The News International reported.

"The government gave concession to the construction mafia, stock exchanges, automobile sector and big business to promote crony capitalism," he said.

He further said that the government on the instructions of the international funding agencies is pushing the working classes to the wall. "Such a situation is ripe for a massive social upheaval," he said. Increasing the petroleum prices near Eid, he said, the Federal Government has burdened the common man.

Senator Mian Raza Rabbani said that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on Friday, which was not in quorum as only two members out of 14 were present, decided to increase the prices of ghee at Utility Stores by almost 53 per cent from Rs 170 to Rs 260 per kg and the prices of wheat floor by about 19 per cent to Rs 950 per 20 kg bag from its existing rate of Rs 800. Similarly, he said sugar prices have been raised from the existing rate of Rs 68 to Rs 85 per kg with an increase of 20 per cent.

The News International further reported quoting the Senator on July 15, the government arbitrarily increased the prices of petroleum products which resulted in a snowball effect on prices of vegetables and inland freight.

Meanwhile, condemning the government on increasing the prices of essential items, PPP Vice President Senator Sherry Rehman said: "Tabahi Sarkar has increased the prices of essential items (Wheat, sugar and edible oil) by a whopping 53 per cent while the weekly inflation hovers around a massive 12.5 per cent. Instead of providing relief before Eid, the government has dropped an inflation bomb on the people, while the mafias are making billions."

She said the incumbent government does not know how to run the country. "Utility Stores introduced by late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were a primary source of subsidized items but under Tabahi Sarkar these stores sell unaffordable goods while ruling government mafia has made Rs 230 billion out of the sugar crisis," she added.

According to the World Bank (WB) estimate, poverty in Pakistan has increased from 4.4 per cent to 5.4 per cent in 2020, as over two million people have fallen below the poverty line.

Using the lower-middle-income poverty rate, the WB estimated that the poverty ratio in Pakistan stood at 39.3 per cent in 2020-21 and is projected to remain at 39.2 per cent in 2021-22 and might come down to 37.9 per cent by 2022-23, reported The News International.


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First published: 18 July 2021, 8:48 IST