PM Shehbaz warns of ‘more challenging time’ ahead

Says coalition govt has assured IMF to pass on fuel price hike, impose PDL

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday reiterated that the coalition government led by PML-N will complete the remaining tenure despite the challenging circumstances as he warned the nation of a ‘more challenging time’ ahead.

Addressing the PML-N Senators in Islamabad, he said that some coalition partners initially wanted to go for the elections after electoral reforms however there was no consensus on it. But, now, there is consensus on completing the term, he said.

Defending the massive hike in fuel prices, PM Shehbaz claimed that the PTI government had agreed with International Monetary Fund (IMF) to pass on the change in global oil prices to the local consumers and imposition of the petroleum development levy (PDL).

However, he said that Imran Khan, knowing he would lose the no-confidence motion, slashed the fuel prices in Pakistan despite the oil prices being record high in the global market at that time, reiterating that it was a landmine laid by former prime minister.

He said that the IMF was pressurizing them to implement the pact [signed by PTI] being the government of Pakistan. He warned the nation that ‘more challenging time’ is coming.

The premier said the government would increase or decrease the fuel prices according to oil rates in the global market.

He said China has approved disbursing $2.3 billion loan to Pakistan which was a sigh of relief in the current circumstances.

PM Shehbaz said the government’s deal on conditions with IMF had been finalized, however, said the positive results in the shape of development would take some time.

He stressed the need for strengthening the national economy by taking effective steps.

The prime minister said the PTI government had no empathy for the common man as it ended several projects of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) tenure that were aimed at public welfare.

He said the forefathers of the subcontinent had rendered immense sacrifices to establish a separate homeland to lead a comfortable life.

However, he said during 73 years, all governments including civil and military, could not help this dream get materialized.

PM Shehbaz said China, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Qatar always supported Pakistan in difficult times besides siding at the diplomatic level.

For the first time in history, he said a genuine tax was imposed on the net income of affluent persons to provide relief to the poor who were the real builders of Pakistan.

Also, to reduce the burden on the poor, Rs2,000 stipend was announced to provide them relief, he added.

He termed it a political and religious obligation of the rich to accommodate the deserving people and contribute to the prosperity of the nation.

He said in the next few days, he would address the nation to take them onboard the steps taken by the government to improve the economic situation.

The prime minister regretted that several welfare projects launched by PM Nawaz Sharif were stopped by the PTI government.

He mentioned that the laptop scheme was accused of a “political bribe”, but the time showed that it became a source of online connectivity for students during Covid-19 pandemic.

He said Pakistan did not need a “Naya Pakistan”, but the Pakistan of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Sharif said the PTI government with its negative approach inflicted damage to the ties with other countries, however, the present government was taking steps to mend them for the benefit of the nation.

PM Shehbaz Sharif

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