ISLAMABAD: People and politicians of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party have rejected the record-high increase in petroleum prices terming it a means to open up a deluge of inflation in the country.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif said on Wednesday that increase in petroleum products’ prices was an act of oppression on the part of the government which was not only ‘corrupt’ but also a ‘liar’.In a statement, he said there was no end in sight to the inflation as long as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) was in office. “People will have to come out on streets to register their protest against this ‘cruel’ government,” Shehbaz said, and vowed that the PML-N would not relent unless it got the masses rid of the government which had unleashed inflation at them.
The PML-N president said these were not only the POL prices, which had been skyrocketing for the last several months, but overall inflation and unemployment too had made the lives of people a ‘hell’. “This is not only petrol whose price has shot up; as a matter of fact these are the prices of items of essential use which have gone up,” he opined.
“What else is to the credit of ‘selected’ Prime Minister Imran Khan and members of his cabinet except rising inflation,” he remarked.
In a statement released on Wednesday, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Prime Minister Imran Khan after increasing inflation, unemployment, poverty, high rate of dollar and corruption had made a historic rise in the prices of petroleum products. He laid his hands on people’s pockets. He said Imran had intensified the ‘bombardment of inflation ’ in the last years of his tenure. Bilawal said that hike in POL prices would affect prices of all other items. He said “seeing the present circumstances, it seems that Imran will never return to Pakistan after the end of his government tenure like Moeen Qureshi.”
In a statement, PML-N leader Hamza Shehbaz blasted the government for hiking POL prices. He termed the astronomical rise an economic murder of people. He rued that after every fortnight, the government jacked up petrol prices. He deplored that the government had broken the backbone of poor and middle-class people.
While talking some private television channels, people expressed their anger and dismay over Rs12.3 per litre hike in petrol prices. They said that it would unleash an unstoppable tsunami of inflation. They were of the view that the government was totally insensitive towards the problems of people and was pushing them to the swamp of poverty. They said transport fare would automatically be increased with the rise in POL prices. It would trigger an inflation spiral, they added.
Former prime minister and PPP leader Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the present PTI government had miserably failed in providing relief to people.
Talking to media at Musa Pak Shaheed shrine in Multan, the former prime minister said that the historic rise in petrol prices was the result of government’s commitment with the IMF. Now the government has to fulfill the harsh conditions of the global lender, he added.
He said PPP’s Feb 27 long march was in fact a protest against inflation. He was of the view that the country was facing economic crisis.
In her tweet, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman criticized government for record increase of Rs12/litre in petrol price and Rs9/litre in diesel price deploring that the cruel rulers did not show any mercy on people. Only an anti-people government could make more than 8% hike in POL prices.
She further wrote: “Petrol is going to become unaffordable in Pakistan. A hike of Rs 12/litre will bring the price to Rs160 p/litre. The wheels of this country are coming to a grinding halt. Brent Int’l crude prices went down yesterday but #Tabahisarkar has slapped on more than a petrol levy bomb.” Spokesperson for PML-N (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter) Ikhtiar Wali Khan severely denounced the government for its historic increase in the POL rates believing that the ensuing inflation and poverty would increase crime rate in society. He said that last night the sleeping people were unaware of what befell on them. He said for the last years nation had been confronting the situation akin to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Commenting on POL prices, Jamaat-e-Islami Amir Sirajul Haq said that the government had surrendered before the IMF.
PDM spokesman Hafiz Hamdullah said that Imran Khan was a curse on country. Government is sucking people’s blood like a ferocious wolf, he added.
Estranged PTI leader Jehangir Tareen also advised Prime Minister Imran Khan to concentrate on economy as common man was finding it hard to eke out his living.
On opposition’s no-confidence motion, Tareen said that he had not decided as yet whether his group would support government or not.