Following the decision to increase the prices of petroleum products by Rs 30 a day ago in an attempt to revive the International Monetary Fund (IMF) program for Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif stated on Friday that the government will include a package of Rs 28 billion in the next budget to assist the people.
Speaking to the nation, the Prime Minister said that in addition to the relief program, the government would immediately provide Rs2,000 for about 85 million people to help them cope with the effects of inflation.
This is in addition to the cash assistance they already receive under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
These measures will be included in the next budget,” stated the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said he instructed the Utility Stores Corporation (USC) to supply 10 kg of wheat to the people for Rs400.
‘Taking over govt was not easy’
At the beginning of his speech, the Prime Minister said that it was not easy to rise to the challenge of taking office because the country’s situation was bleak and the nation was torn apart by hatred under the previous government.
“I would like to thank my leader Nawaz Sharif and our allied party leaders for placing their trust in me with this office,” he said.
Lashing out at the PTI-led government and ex-prime minister Imran Khan, Prime Minister Shehbaz said that “this was the demand of the Pakistani people to get rid of the previous incompetent and corrupt government.”
Prime Minister Shehbaz said a diplomatic cable was used for political means and the nation was fed falsehoods.
Despite the National Security Committee (NSC) and the ambassador to the United States both rejecting the claims of “foreign conspiracy” vaunted by former prime minister Imran Khan.
‘It was the previous govt which signed tough deals with IMF, not us’
Recalling the PTI’s performance during its tenure, Prime Minister Shehbaz said it was Khan who reached an agreement with the IMF, not the incumbent government.
We did not accept the strict conditions set by the IMF; you burdened the masses with heavy inflation, not us; you buried the country under heavy debts, not us; international institutions have said that corruption has increased over your term of office, not ours, electricity offloading was restored during your tenure and you are responsible for the economic suffering,” he said.
He’s said it over the past 3.5 years, Pakistan had incurred more than $20 trillion in debt, more than 80% of the country’s total loans over its history.
The Prime Minister said the outgoing government was willing to make difficult decisions to move the country forward in an attempt to end the policy of “incompetence and corruption”.
He went on to say that when the new government took office, inflation was skyrocketing, industries were shutting down, and the U.S. dollar, which was at Rs115, was at Rs189.
The Prime Minister also said that freedom of expression was taken away from the masses over the past 3.5 years, adding that political opponents were subjected to harsh punishments.
“The former prime minister was regarded as a dictator for journalism in Pakistan,” the Prime Minister said. “But now the government has brought the Pakistan Media Development Authority to a close.”
The prime minister has said that no nation can grow without dealing with its domestic problems.
“I am beginning consultations with allies on the Charter of the Economy that was ignored during the PTI’s tenure,” he added.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said the government will not allow the sacrifices made for the nation to go in vain.
“The cabinet and I are responsible to the country,” he said.