Islamabad, 24th February 2022: Kicking off the PPP’s Long March media briefing in Karachi Vice President PPPP, Senator Sherry Rehman said that the final countdown has begun both in Parliament and on the street of Pakistan against Imran Khan and his artificial majority. “He had lost the confidence of any of the people of Pakistan that had been lured into supporting him a while ago. Now the writing on the wall is as clear as the misery of the middle and vulnerable classes of Pakistan.”
The Senator said, “Imran Khan has only brought a tsunami of misery to the country with his anti-people attitude because he has no policy, no ideology, no thought process other than “knowing the West better than the West”. He has left Pakistan strategically and economically adrift in a pitiless ocean of inflationary drift, with no sense of public suffering when his team negotiates with the IMF, no sense of how lives are impacted on the ground every time he lets a price bomb hit the people. Whether it be petroleum, gas, electricity, or cooking oil, sugar or flour, the prices of essential utilities and commodities have more than doubled in his 3.5 years of unprecedented misrule.”
She said, “No government in Pakistan’s 70 years has led the country to this path of ruinous misrule, nor been so unacquainted with public sentiment as they struggle to put food on the table. Medicines in the time of a great pandemic have become either too expensive or become unavailable, like the most needed panadol, which was sold in black.”
She continued by saying, “It is for this reason that PPP has responded to the call of the people and its Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has now planned to undertake one of the largest cross-country grassroots exercise in the history of Pakistan to lead the path to saving the country from further disasters. Because the disasters don’t seem to stop. Whether it be a hideous clampdown on dissent and human rights, an autocratic subversion of parliament via his presidential ordinance factory, the crisis in the energy sector, or a painful economic downturn, or blundering foreign exposure, (since the policy is only on paper,) the scatter here is too great. If Khan is allowed to continue his hate speech-led destruction of Pakistan, the public will not forgive us.”
“The last three and a half years have been a period of growing censorship, shameful assault on rights and a terrible erosion of an average citizen’s quality of life. Frankly, when the common woman cannot run her kitchen due to no disposable income or businesses cannot run their factories due to lack of gas, and public debt skyrockets to Rs 50 trillion in 3.5 years, then there is no way out but to throw down the gauntlet.
What PTI has done to the state of the government, no one has done in the last 70 years. Petrol, which was Rs80 per litre, has now reached Rs 160 per litre. The price of electricity has increased from Rs 8 per unit to Rs 21 per unit. Gas bills which amounted to Rs 300 for 70 years have now gone up to Rs 4800 in last 3 and half years. In 70 years, ghee was Rs 170 per kg but in the three and a half years of this government, it has gone up to more than Rs 400 per kg, similarly, sugar was at Rs 55 per kg, which has now exceeded to Rs 125 per kg. Due to the failure of this government in curbing the fertilizer mafia, the price of DAP has gone up from Rs 3500 to Rs 10,000. Flour was Rs 35 per kg, whereas now it is Rs 70 per kg. In 70 years, the dollar had reached Rs 105 but in this government, it has reached an abysmal Rs 176. Medicine reached Rs 110 in the last 70 years has now reached Rs 330 in 3 years. Unemployment for academics was 3% in 70 years, now it is 16%. What the most egregious is that the party that used to make tall claims about ridding Pakistan of debt has taken Pakistan’s debt from Rs 25,000 billion to Rs 50,000 billion.”
She said, “His entire edifice of promises made has also crumbled in the dust like the average Pakistanis dreams. Who is running the country while the rupee nosedives and the trade deficits outpaces all imports? Who is running the country while poverty goes up to 50 percent and we become a food insecure country that is incidentally importing 37 percent of our wheat from the Ukraine? In our govt we were a wheat surplus of $53.4 million and a food surplus of a whopping $285.6 million. During our time, the trade deficit was $20 billion in the whole year, whereas under this government, the trade deficit has reached a massive $28.8 billion just in the first 7 months of the financial year and is expected to skyrocket in the coming month. The government continues to point towards international Brent Crude price, however, back in 2013 domestic petrol price was Rs 97/L, whereas the international crude oil was pushing $150/bbl. PPP still managed to have the best trade figures even when oil prices were double what they are internationally.”
She concluded by saying, “The government has failed to deliver on any promised and has left Pakistan laden with an impossible double-digit inflationary burden. Their only form of governance is carrying out cut and paste orders at the behest of the IMF, the finance ministry makes contradictory statements on the daily and it is clear that it has no plan. To be quite frank, the government is betraying Pakistan. The people are exhausted from the electricity bills, petrol and food-costs to the extent that we can no longer ignore the demands of the people, as they ask us what we are doing to remove this selected sarkar, and rightly so. Chairman Bilawal understands the plight of the people, which is why we will be marching in peaceful protest against the government from Quaid-e-Azam’s mausoleum all the way in Islamabad.”