Islamabad, November 5, 2021: Questioning how a relief package that amounts to Rs 5 a day for 20 million people will put a dent in any household’s financial stress, PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate, Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Days after announcing a so-called relief package, the government dropped another petrol bomb at midnight, imposing yet another hike in petrol prices by a whopping Rs 8.14 per litre. For the third consecutive month, price of petrol has beaten all previous records and is now at Rs 145.8 per litre. This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that prices of all the petroleum products are above Rs110 per litre. This has a clear impact on prices of goods across every sector. Due to constant spikes in food inflation, cooking oil has gone up by 130 percent. Who can cook anymore in Naya Pakistan? With gas going up by 300 percent who can afford to use their stoves? It is now just a matter of time before a humanitarian disaster unfolds in Pakistan this winter”.
“The petrol bomb is going to increase prices across all sectors and saying that oil prices in the region have increased is a false response; when PPP was facing double the global oil prices, we managed to keep the domestic petrol prices less than half of what it is now. So that argument holds no water with anyone. With 53 percent of the population earning up to Rs31,500 per month, it is next to impossible for people to manage against this inflation. Just in 3 years of this government, prices of chicken have gone up by 60 percent while flour price is up by 50 percent. This government is forcing people towards poverty and starvation. There is just no way they can afford even one square meal,” she added.
Questioning how a relief package that amounts to Rs 5 a day for 20 million people will put a dent in any household’s financial stress, Rehman asked, “How do they expect people to survive in this? People are unable to pay their utility bills while the government is making a mockery out of peoples’ miseries. How can anyone live in this country where the inflation, electricity bills, petrol and gas prices are through the roof?”
“Chairman Bilawal has seen to it that PPP is leading the protests against inflation in the country; we are out there on the streets, shoulder to shoulder with the vulnerable people of this country, who want relief from this government. It was only after Tabahi Sarkar saw our power that they began to panic and promised relief. But they don’t even have the infrastructure to do so as they are still reliant on our Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), which they have dubbed as Ehsaas programme. You cannot fool people by these tricks,” she added.
Discussing the debt crisis, Rehman said, “We are paying for the most indebted government in the history of Pakistan. The public debt is at Rs39.9 trillion which is 83.5 percent of the GDP whereas the circular debt stands at Rs2.379 trillion. PPP had comprehensive policies to manage the debt, despite a global financial crisis; whereas PTI has demonstrated missteps after missteps. This government is completely clueless”.
“The Pakistani rupee is much weaker than the Bangladesh Taka or Indian Rupee, and whose fault is that? The value of a currency is a function of its trade and export volumes. Under PTI government, export has plummeted. Despite a global recession, at the beginning of PPP’s tenure, exports rose by 44 percent which is the highest-ever increase recorded in a quarter in the country’s history. We focused on increasing Pakistan’s exports as it was crucial in reducing the trade deficit,” she added.
Rehman said, “While the government is busy bringing ordinances on NAB, they are conveniently silent on the whereabouts of Rs821bn that NAB claims to have recovered. It is shocking that a huge amount has disappeared and no one has addressed it. When it comes to the opposition, all past records are opened but PTI cronies are never held to the same standard and no one bats an eyelid. Where is the financial transparency that was promised? There must be an inquiry into this matter”.
Vice President PPP, Senator Sherry Rehman concluded by saying that, “The thin veil hiding the government’s incompetence and dishonesty came off long ago. Instead of closing the gap between the rich and poor, this government is setting new records for inflation and price hikes. PPP will oppose this at every forum.”