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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) secretary information Marriyum Aurangzeb on Monday dubbed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation as a “desperate, but a failed attempt to save his job” amid the “growing pressure of a no-confidence motion against him.”

“The prime minister’s announcement of reduction in petrol and electricity prices is a last ditch desperate, but a failed attempt to save his job,” the PML-N spokesperson said while reacting to Prime Minister Khan’s address to the nation, in which, he announced a relief in prices of petroleum products and the power tariff.

She said the PTI government increased electricity tariff by Rs15 per unit over the past three years and reduced it by Rs5 allegedly to befool the nation. Over the past three years, she added that the price of petrol increased up to Rs70, it will only be reduced by just Rs10 per liter as “eyewash”.

“The credit for this actually goes to the joint opposition because this decline is not due to the people’s sense of pain and problems, but due to the growing fear of a no-confidence motion. If this isn’t so, why did Imran Khan not reduce these prices when the people were pleading miserably and the PML-N was demanding reduction in petrol and electricity prices? Where did Imran’s hoopla about it being impossible go?” she asked.

She asked the prime minister about the state of the current account deficit today. At this rate, the current account deficit will reach an all-time high of $20 billion, which has never happened in the history of this country, she said. In terms of GDP, this current account deficit is the highest since Musharraf era, she added.

She alleged that the prime minister was “lying” to the nation by claiming that the PTI had collected Rs6,000 billion. She maintained that the PML-N had collected Rs4,000 billion in taxes during its tenure, “which was undisputed.”

She further stated that the tax revenue of the PML-N tenure is still higher than the ratio of GDP. “The PML-N left tax revenue at 11.2 percent with the inflation at an all-time low of 3.4 percent, while the “incompetent and corrupt” Imran could not even reach 11.2 percent to-date. Imran Khan is using PPP’s 1970 figures and PML-N’s 1990 figures to show that inflation is low,” she further maintained. “Today under Imran-led “mafia” PTI government, inflation is more than 20 percent,” she added.

She further stated that food inflation was two percent in the PML-N tenure, and now it is at an all-time high in the PTI tenure.

“Inflation in Pakistan is more than double that of India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka,” she said, while referring to international media reports, adding that Pakistan is the third-most expensive country in the world, followed by Argentina and Turkey.

“He [the PM] should reduce money laundering, reduce tax evasion, so that petrol becomes cheaper,” she suggested. She added that petrol was available in Pakistan at Rs82 per liter when it was $94 per barrel in the world market.

At that time, she added that Imran Khan was criticising the PML-N government.

“A few days ago, the price of petrol in the world market was $94 per barrel but was being sold at Rs160 per liter in the PTI era,” she added.

She further stated that the rupee has not gone up to Rs200 against the dollar, so petrol should be Rs130 per liter.

“In three years, on an average, Imran’s budget deficit is more than Rs3,400 billion every year. Under the PML-N, the annual budget deficit was less than Rs1,600 billion. In his speech, Imran Sahib told a “white lie” about the deficit during the PML-N era. Imran Sahib, who took 66 percent of the total debt in the history of Pakistan in just three years?” she asked.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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