- Terms opposition parties' propaganda over the issue baseless
Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that World Bank figures show the poverty rate in the country has reduced during the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, adding that the opposition parties propaganda over inflation is baseless.
While answering a question of a caller during the fifth session of the 'Aap Ka Wazir Azam Aap Key Sath' programme, the premier said: "The opposition says poverty increased in the PTI government, but World Bank's figures say poverty decreased."
"The World Bank has estimated an increase of 5.37pc in Pakistan's gross domestic product (GDP)," PM Khan said.
Speaking about the ongoing wave of inflation, the premier said that Pakistan was not the only country that faced skyrocketing prices. "The prices of vital commodities have soared all over the world and the situation is similar in Pakistan," he said.
He added that the world was facing a supply shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic. "The US has spent $6,000 billion for the welfare of the people during the pandemic and we spent $8bn. We must compare the situation of both countries."
He said that the government was taking measures to provide relief to the salaried class, as they were the most affected due to the recent hike in inflation.
The premier reiterated that the economic situation in Pakistan was not as bad as in other countries.
He said that due to a boom in the agriculture and construction sectors, the income of people linked to these industries has risen significantly.
"There is a 73 per cent increase in the income of the farmers," he said, adding that the farmers earned additional profits to the tune of Rs1,400 billion last year.
Talking about the government's response to the Covid-19 crisis, the premier said that efforts were being acknowledged globally.
"We have been told that we are incompetent. But The Economist magazine has rated us among the top countries that effectively tackled Covid-19. We will also come out of this inflation crisis," he vowed.
Talking about the possibility of negotiations with the opposition, he said Gen Pervez Musharraf committed the "biggest sin" by offering NROs (National Reconciliation Ordinances) to the opposition.
"Half of the taxes we collect are spent on paying back debts incurred during the previous government's tenures," he claimed.
The premier urged the people to strictly follow the Covid-19 protocols and wear a face mask to counter the fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He maintained that the government will not shut down any businesses, as the economy cannot bear another lockdown.
According to the Prime Minister Office's Media Wing, the prime minister had held four such live TV sessions with the public last year. About 86 questions, 74 on telephone calls and 12 others via social media, were answered by the prime minister during these sessions.
In the previous sessions, the callers had raised different issues about corruption, land grabbing, inflation, coronavirus, among others.