Opposition lambastes govt’s relief package, calls it ‘a joke, acceptance of failure’

Shortly after Prime Minister announced a Rs120-billion subsidy package for 20 million most-vulnerable families of Pakistan on Wednesday, Opposition leaders criticised the move and called it an “acceptance of the government’s failure and “nothing but a joke”.
Taking to Twitter, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that the PM’s package is “too little for 200 million people.”
“PM’s package is nothing but a joke. PM claims few families will benefit from 30% discount for only 6 months on ghee, flour & lentils. In 3 yrs, ghee increased [by] 108%, flour 50% & gas 300%,” he wrote. “30% is too little, too late for 200 million ppl facing historic inflation, poverty & unemployment.”
Following suit, former senator and PPP leader Sherry Rehman termed PM Imran Khan’s address to the nation a “bizarre speech”, and called the premier the “Blame Minister of Pakistan”.
Taking to Twitter, Rehman criticised the prime minister and said that she chose the name “blame minister” for him as he has been shifting blames on the former governments and international markets for the rise in inflation and prices of oil, gas, and other essential items.
She said that global oil prices were higher during the PPP’s tenure but local petrol prices were “half” as compared to the current petrol prices.
“Bizarre speech by the Blame Minister of Pakistan. Says all the unprecedented inflation, tsunami of oil, gas prices, essentials is becoz [sic] of the past govts & international markets. PPP faced higher global oil prices over 130 $ per barrel but local petrol was half of today prices,” wrote Rehman.
She continued: “Basically he took no responsibility for the economic crisis, skyrocketing inflation, unprecedented public debt, plummeting rupee and just said ‘get ready for more price hikes.’ And oh, a ‘relief package’ for 2 crore out of 22 crore people. Which package? Ghee prices rose as he spoke.”
Meanwhile, PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair said that offering subsidies on the products is the “acceptance of the failure” that the government couldn’t control the prices.
Zubair, in a conversation with said that it seemed like it is August 2018 when PM Imran Khan has just taken office and he was making announcements for the implementation of the plan put forward by him regarding the economy.
“He must have forgotten that it is the time for his return, not the time when he assumed office,” said Zubair.
Speaking about the subsidy announced by PM Imran Khan, Zubair said that someone has to pay for the discount 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,” he said.
Zubair admitted that the prices have increased in the international market but the premier should have given an explanation that every country in the region is importing all the same items that Pakistan is importing.
Why is it Pakistan that is the most affected when it comes to the overall inflation, Zubair asked.
He said that there is only one justification and the reason behind the inflation in Pakistan and that is the government’s “incompetence, unprofessionalism, and lack of capacity to deliver”.
Referring to PM Imran Khan’s comparison of Pakistan with India over the petrol prices, Zubair said that the PM should have taken into account the difference of income per capita.
Meanwhile, PPP leader Shazia Marri said that PM Imran Khan was compelled to speak to the nation because of the protest the Opposition parties, along with the citizens, are recording.
She said that the economic murder of people is being committed.
“There is a historic rise in the unemployment and inflation in Pakistan and a historic depreciation of the rupee,” said Marri, adding that today’s address was a forced address where PM Imran Khan “tried to make excuses”.
She said that 68% of families in Pakistan are unable to afford basic food items.
Akin to other party leaders, Ameer Jamat-i-Islami Syed Siraj ul Haq said that the premier “did not accurately portray the facts in his speech.”
“If you want to compare inflation with the United States and Europe, then mention the facilities available to the people of these countries,” Haq wrote on Twitter. “Inflation and unemployment in Pakistan are higher than [other countries] in the region. The government’s boat is sinking and it is itself responsible.”

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