Pakistan opposition slams Imran Khan govt over power tariff hike

Islamabad [Pakistan]: Slamming the Imran Khan government over back-to-back price hikes, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Vice President Sherry Rehman said rising prices, inflation and unemployment were making life extremely difficult for the common man, local media reported on Saturday.
This comes as the Pakistani government increased the base power tariff by Pakistani Rs 1.39 per unit to fulfil the International Monetary Fund (IMF) demand to stay in its programme. “Is anyone tearing electricity bills up in public meetings now?” asked PPP parliamentary leader in the Senate Sherry Rehman in an indirect reference to the demonstrations staged in the past by then opposition lawmaker Imran Khan in which electricity bills were torn up or torched in public to protest against hike in power tariff, Dawn reported.
“Moreover, since the last price hike two weeks ago, now there’s news that Ogra has suggested increasing the price of petrol by Rs5.90 per litre, and diesel by Rs9.75 per litre from October 16. In the last three years, Rs30 increase has been seen in per litre of petrol prices. Does ‘PTIMF’ even realise the impact of these back-to-back price hike bombs on people?” the PPP leader asked.
She said the inflation rate stood at nine per cent. Wheat that was Rs740 for 20kg in the past was being sold at Rs 1,150, while sugar was being sold at Rs 110 per kg when it was actually Rs 60 per kg, she said, adding that all this combined with inflation and unemployment was making life extremely difficult for the common man, Dawn reported.
Discussing the meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), she said it was very difficult to have any confidence in the Imran-led government when debt had been raking up and had more than doubled since PPP’s time to a whopping Rs 39.9 trillion.
Despite the existing high prices of commodities, she said, the IMF conditions to increase electricity tariff and taxes seemed to have been accepted by the government.
“We have also gone to the IMF but have been transparent about it. PPP’s terms were always clear; we did not drive millions into poverty, homelessness and joblessness in the name of stabilisation goals,” she said.
The PPP senator said the present government never took parliament into confidence over its agreement with the IMF that only resulted in “a tsunami of unbearable utility and food staple price hikes”, Dawn reported.

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