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PM Imran to announce ‘big package’ to deal with inflation: Fawad

ISLAMABAD , 01 NOV :  Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon announce a “big package” to deal with rising inflation, providing relief to 10 million people directly.

He was addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to the PM on Political Communication Shahbaz Gill after a meeting of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI’s) core committee in Islamabad.

Gill told media persons that the PM was expected to address the nation day after tomorrow to take people into confidence on the current economic situation in the country and share details of the inflation package.

The government has been facing severe criticism from the opposition, particularly after the premier approved a Rs10 increase in the price of petrol last month. Major opposition parties, including the PML-N and the PPP, have held country-wide rallies and protests over what they term “unprecedented inflation in the country”.

Inflation measured through the Sensitive Price Index posted an increase of 1.23 per cent for the week ended on October 28 driven by a sharp rise in the prices of essential food items, data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics showed.

This was the fourth consecutive week that witnessed an upward increase. Earlier, the finance ministry had warned of inflation further rising in the country.

With the fiscal deficit during the first two months of the current financial year unchanged at 0.9 per cent of the gross domestic product, the exchange rate, commodity supplies and seasonality could intensify the magnitude of prices and transportation costs in the country, the Economic Adviser’s Wing of the ministry had stated in its monthly Economic Update and Outlook last week.

“The effect of these impulses — surge in international oil prices, exchange rate depreciation and adjustments in administered prices — may intensify the magnitude of prices and transportation cost,” it had said.

Last month, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar had ruled out “immediate relief” in rising commodity prices, saying it could take at least five months for the “abnormal increase” in global prices to head towards normalcy.

Pinning the recent price hike in Pakistan on the international market, the planning minister had said this spell was not expected to subside before March 2022.

‘ECP notices unfair’

On the matter of the Election Commission of Pakistan issuing show-cause notices to Chaudhry and Railways Minister Azam Swati for their tirade against it and the chief election commissioner, the information minister deemed the move “unfair”

“We think that the notices should be withdrawn,” he said.

Gill, too, said that the PTI’s core committee, including the prime minister, had expressed reservations on the matter, and that every person had the right to express their views in a democracy.

LG polls

Moreover, Chaudhry said, the committee decided that local government representatives in the upcoming polls would be elected through direct elections.

“This is [another] promise that the prime minister and the PTI are fulfilling,” he said, adding that PM Imran had directed the entire party to become active in this regard.

He said the party had started the process of nomination of candidates in Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister and others were also running a campaign in the province.

When asked about the ongoing sit-in of the proscribed Pakistan Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, the federal minister refused to talk about it and said as Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had said earlier, details of the agreement reached with the group and progress on this front would be shared later.

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