Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday said that the surge in the international market compelled the government to raise petroleum prices with a heavy heart, though it always desired to put a minimum burden on the poor to ensure their economic survival.
The prime minister, in an interview with a private television channel (Aaj News), said that during the fortnight reviews across the last three months, the oil prices were reduced most of the time.
Substantiating his remarks, he said that with a view to protecting the poor from inflation, the government made no increase in electricity prices for the users consuming up to 200 units.
He said the government was bound to abide by the agreement with the International Monetary Fund, under which it was allowed to provide only targeted subsidies.
He said by breaching the IMF agreement, the previous government preferred its own interests putting the national interests at stake. He expressed the hope that with the signing of IMF agreement, the country’s economy was heading towards betterment.
The prime minister said the previous government was merely focused on putting the opponents behind bars and strained Pakistan’s relations with friendly countries.
He said the incumbent government made all-out efforts to revive Pak-China ties which were undermined by the previous government and the Army Chief also played a key role in that regard.
To a question, the prime minister said the accountability or the arrests were the mandate of the institutions and the government was bound to convey facts to them.
He told the interviewer that the PTI chairman introduced the politics of accusations, who failed to prove his words of bringing back $300 billion within 90 days. He mentioned the publication of a fake story in the UK-based Daily Mail for which the publication had to apologize, though it had brought defame to the country.
He said the PTI chief carried out the worst propaganda and promoted the politics of sit-ins and long marches.
He said May 9 would always be remembered as a black day as the statues of the martyrs were dismantled on that day, besides attacks on the Jinnah House, GHQ and other military installations.
Responding to a query, the prime minister said the government would complete its term on August 12, and a committee had already been formed for the caretaker setup. Consultation with Nawaz Sharif was also going on and opposition leader Raja Riaz would also be consulted after finalisation of the name for the caretaker prime minister by the government.
He hoped that the journey of progress would also continue even during the caretaker setup without wasting any time.
He viewed that a government with a five-year mandate could only resolve the national issues as only the government’s performance could ensure respect for the vote.
The prime minister questioned as no one else except Nawaz Sharif was tried for featuring in the Panama Papers, and added that the PML-N leader was disqualified under a conspiracy.
He said that once permitted by the doctors, Nawaz Sharif would return to Pakistan as he was the one who had rid the country of load-shedding as well as terrorism and also formulated the National Action Plan in coordination with the security forces.
The prime minister told the anchorperson that during the last 15 months, the coalition government faced massive challenges as they had inherited record inflation and the economy shaken to an unexpected magnitude.
To another query, he said after consultation and as per the decision by the leadership, his party could go for seats adjustment with coalition parties in some constituencies.
Afsheen is a writer with an extensive experience in creating authentic and well-researched articles.