Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Friday that his government‘s decision to raise fuel prices was necessary to prevent the country from facing bankruptcy.
Pakistan on Thursday increased the prices of petroleum products by Rs 30 per litre. Following the hike, the price of petrol is now at Rs 179.85, diesel at Rs 174.15, kerosene at Rs 155.95 and light diesel at Rs 148.41.
In his first address to the nation after assuming power last month, Shehbaz spoke mainly about the internal problem facing the government.
His main focus was the aid package for vulnerable groups after the government raised oil prices to obtain an aid package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The prime minister said the move to raise fuel prices was necessary to prevent Pakistan from facing bankruptcy.
Shehbaz said the decision to raise oil prices was a difficult one. “It is with great regret that we raise oil prices, we have to make the decision in a difficult economic situation. It is due to the incredible rise in oil prices on the world market,” he said.
“The previous government had announced a subsidy that could not be supported by the treasury. We made the decision preferring the country for our own interest,” he said.
To mitigate the impact of rising oil prices, he announced a relief package of Rs 28 billion per month to provide Rs 2,000 per month to some 14 million families.
“These families comprise almost 80 million people, which is a third of the total population of the country,” he said.
Shhebaz also blamed the previous government for the current increase in oil, as it has made a commitment to the IMF for this increase.
“You made a deal with the IMF, not us; you accepted their harsh conditions, not us; you burdened people with inflation, not us; you pushed the country into an economic puddle, not us…” he said.
He also announced the launch of consultations with all political parties to agree on an Economy Charter, so that no future government can change the economic direction of the country.
In justifying the vote of no confidence against former Prime Minister Imran Khan, Shehbaz said that the previous government had destroyed the country. “We changed a corrupt government at the demand of the people,” he said.
Shehbaz came to power last month when he formed a coalition government after Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote.
The new government faced tremendous economic and political challenges, but has begun to make tough decisions, such as raising oil prices, to address these problems.
In his speech, Shehbaz briefly touched on the issue of ties with India.
“For lasting peace in South Asia, it is India’s duty to reverse the actions of 5th August 2019 in Kashmir, so that we can make solid progress in resolving all issues including Jammu and Kashmir through peaceful means.” “, said.
Tensions between India and Pakistan have skyrocketed since New Delhi abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019. India’s decision prompted strong reactions from Pakistan, which downgraded ties. diplomats and expelled the Indian envoy.
India has categorically told the international community that the removal of Article 370 was an internal matter. India has repeatedly told Pakistan that Jammu and Kashmir “was, is and will forever remain” an integral part of the country. He also advised Pakistan to accept reality and stop all anti-India propaganda.
India has also told Pakistan that it wants normal neighborly relations with Islamabad in an environment free from terror, hostility and violence.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)