Home Latest News ‘Big Package’ on Cards to Tackle Inflation: Fawad

‘Big Package’ on Cards to Tackle Inflation: Fawad

by Newsweek Pakistan

Information Minister Chaudhary Fawad Hussain and Special Assistant to the P.M. Shahbaz Gill talk to media. Photo courtesy PID

Information minister claims relief measures will be announced by P.M. Imran Khan and will provide direct relief to 10 million people

Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Monday announced that Prime Minister Imran Khan was set to announce a “big package” to tackle rampant inflation, claiming that it will provide direct relief to 10 million people.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)’s core committee, the minister said that inflation and local government elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa had been the two major issues discussed. He said that the participants of the meeting had expressed serious concern over the persistent increase in fuel prices due to prevailing international rates.

“The government has taken several steps to prevent the impact [of international prices] from being passed on to the public, but the concerning thing is how long that can be managed,” said Fawad, who was flanked by Special Assistant to the P.M. on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill. The unelected official said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would address the nation on Wednesday (tomorrow) and take the people into confidence on the country’s economic situation and apprise them of the inflation package developed by the government.

Inflation has become akin to an albatross around the PTI’s neck, with opposition parties leading protest demonstrations nationwide over the past week to demand the government provide relief to the masses. According to the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Pakistan has witnessed four consecutive weeks of inflation, particularly of essential commodities. Adviser to the P.M. on Finance Shaukat Tarin has warned that this trend would continue for several more months, telling local media that some inflationary pressure would also result from the terms agreed with the International Monetary Fund to resume a suspended bailout program.

Addressing media last month, Planning Minister Asad Umar likewise warned that the current inflationary pressures would persist till March 2022, adding that this was due to recent surge in global commodity prices.

Local government

In his interaction with media, Fawad said the core committee had decided to conduct elections for mayors of cities and districts in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkwha directly. “This was the promise made by the prime minister to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf from the very first day that he would ensure direct democracy,” he said, adding that the process for nomination of candidates for local bodies would commence “shortly.”

The information minister said the core committee had also discussed the matter of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) issuing show-cause notices to himself and Railways Minister Azam Swati over their comments targeting the institution and the chief election commissioner. Describing the action as “unfair,” he said the PTI believed the notices should be withdrawn.

Gill backed Fawad, saying the prime minister believed everyone had a right to express their views in a democracy. According to sources within the PTI, Khan also voiced anger at the disunity within the party and directed the core committee’s participants to display unity on matters of national and political importance. They said he had directed the party’s senior leadership to accompany Fawad and Swati to their appearances before the ECP to show the government supported them.

To a question, Fawad said he could not talk about the government’s deal with the proscribed Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan and told journalists to contact Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi for any details.

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