Fawad Chaudhry says Opposition is holding anti-government protests 'just for the sake of it'
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry on Monday said anti-government parties should take a look at their previous tenures and recreate a policy to steer the country out of problems before resorting to criticism.
Speaking to the press, he said: "The Opposition has no organisational or economic policy in place."
Fawad criticised the Opposition and said that the Opposition was holding anti-government protests "just for the sake of it".
Fawad shed light on civil-military relationships and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa often hold meetings, therefore, a routine meeting was held today too.
"All the matters have been resolved," he said.
Fawad also talked about Opposition's criticism of the growing inflation in the country and said that, in Sindh, only the prices of wheat have been hiked but other essential items are being sold at reasonable prices.
"The Sindh government has released wheat into the open market today," the minister said, adding that the entire world is grappling with inflation and Pakistan is no exception.
"We don't live on another planet. If there is a worldwide increase in the prices of oil, then we will also witness a hike in the prices," he said.
"There are no proponents of democracy in the Opposition as they are always looking to strike political deals," he said, as he continued criticising the Opposition.
The information minister asked the Opposition to come up with an alternative solution to curb the rising inflation in the country.
"Merely lashing out at the premier will not get these parties anywhere," Fawad said as he berated the chief of Pakistan Democratic Movement, Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
"Fazl has no political standing anymore," he said. "He only urges madrassa kids to join his political rallies, therefore, he should start a rent-a-crowd business."
Fawad also invited the Opposition to come forward and hold talks with the government regarding electoral reforms and other matters.
The minister said in a bid to give relief to the masses, the government has decided to offer subsidies on the prices of ghee, wheat, and electricity.
"However, the entire country could not be run on the basis of subsidies," the information minister said, adding that the government has to pay a debt of $12 billion.
"Had those who are crying foul about inflation right now not taken such huge loans, Pakistan would have been in a much better position," he said. "We have to fight inflation together and the private sector should increase the salaries of the employees."
'Govt has snatched people's right to live': Shahbaz
Earlier in the day, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said the PTI-led government has snatched people's right to live, as he lashed out at it over rising inflation.
The Opposition leader, addressing the floor of the National Assembly, said: "Every child in the country is bearing witness to the worst government in the last 74 years."
He further criticised the PTI-led government's economic policies and said that there is no comparison between PTI's governance and Riyasat e Madinah.
"[As against present-day Pakistan] under PTI's rule, no one ever slept hungry in Riyasat e Madinah, exemplary justice prevailed there, and everyone was given their due rights," said Shahbaz.
"It startles us when the government compares itself with Riyasat e Madinah," he said while criticising the government's economic policies.
Lashing out at the government for inflation, he said the electricity rate had been hiked up Rs1.5 per unit, while the price of petroleum products had also increased.
Shahbaz said the price of ghee had been increased by Rs49 and cooking oil Rs110, as he lamented that "what could be crueller than depriving the poor of food".
The Opposition leader asked the government that how could a person who earns Rs20,000 a month afford electricity bills worth Rs10,000, as he claimed that such a situation had not arisen since Pakistan's inception.
"To fulfil the IMF's (International Monetary Fund) conditions they took every measure [...] but despite that, I have heard reports that IMF is still not satisfied and is trying to impose further conditions."
The Opposition leader asked whether there would be a stop to this "destruction or not", as he said that the incumbent government wants to leave the country "on the path to destruction".
Shahbaz reminded Prime Minister Imran Khan that he had, before coming into power, said that if the rupee's value falls against the dollar, then the prime minister is a thief.
"If the price of medicines has risen by 100%, then what should we call this government [...] If the US dollar gains 40% against rupee then what should we call this government?" he asked.
"Imported inflation is leading to starvation and suicide [...] The country's crops might be affected due to bad weather conditions, but Pakistan usually has wheat and other commodities in abundance," he said.
The Opposition leader added that there were reports of the government importing millions of tonnes of sugar, while the people were forced to line up for purchasing the commodity.
"This government has also deprived the people of wheat," he added.