In separate statements, PPP and PMLN deride announced package as a failure that is insufficient to cope with current bout of inflation
The opposition on Wednesday derided the “relief package” announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, describing it as a “biggest and historic fraud” and advising him to resign from office if he really wished to provide relief to the common man.
In separate statements, the country’s two biggest opposition parties—the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) and the Pakistan Peoples Party—made it clear they did not expect the package announced by the prime minister to have any impact on rampant inflation.
“Today’s address of Imran Khan spells further doom for the masses,” said PMLN President Shahbaz Sharif in a posting on Twitter. “This speech was an admission of incompetence, helplessness and utter administrative paralysis. P.M. came across as someone who has lost control on everything. PTI government has become a liability,” he added.
PMLN Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb reiterated her calls for Khan to resign, emphasizing that he had “lied” on national television by announcing a “fraud” package. Describing the measure as a “pain” package, she ridiculed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for claiming to the public that it was a “historic” package.
Instead of providing relief to a population bearing the burden of the current bout of inflation, she claimed, the announced package would bring about even more misery, inflation and unemployment. “The only public announcement that would help solve the crisis created by the PTI would be corrupt, incompetent and clueless Imran Khan’s resignation,” she said.
Noting that the prime minister had chosen a speech on “relief” to announce new price hikes for fuel and essential commodities, she said he had made clear that inflationary pressures would continue for sugar, electricity, gas, petrol and cotton. “What kind of a relief package is this which has come with the terrible news that there will be a shortage of gas in the entire winter season,” she questioned.
The PMLN spokesman also ridiculed Khan for trying to link his government’s incompetence to previous governments, maintaining that the PTI’s narrative of the opposition’s corruption had been rubbished.
Nothing but a joke
PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also derided the prime minister’s announcement. “[The] P.M. package is nothing but a joke,” he said in a post on Twitter. “P.M. claims few families will benefit from 30% discount for only 6 months on ghee, flour and lentils. Ghee increased 108%, flour 50%, and gas 300%. 30% is too little, too late for 200 million people facing historic inflation, poverty and unemployment,” he added.
Sherry Rehman, the PPP’s parliamentary leader in the Senate, also lashed out at Khan, saying the “the blame minister of Pakistan” had given a “bizarre speech” in which he had blamed past governments and the international market for inflation in prices of oil, gas and other essential items.
“Maybe he has forgotten that the PPP faced higher global oil prices at over $130 per barrel, but local petrol was still half of today’s prices and the Pakistani rupee still stood strong,” she said in a posting on Twitter, adding that it seemed Khan could not see the pain being experienced by the poor due to soaring prices. “It’s ironic how the biggest welfare package in Pakistan’s history is targeted for 20 million people when in fact the entire 240 million population of this country needs relief,” she added.