ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan has claimed that "powerful quarters" are alarmed at the ongoing political and economic crisis.
Talking to journalists and anchorpersons on Saturday, the PTI chairman said the only way for the government to end the crisis was to hold early elections. The former prime minister said he had two options after his ouster in April — apologise to “powerful quarters” or fight his case in public. “I decided to go to the people," he added, referring to his Azadi March and the protests that followed after his removal from power.
In the coming days, Imran Khan said, he would march to Islamabad and rebutted the speculation that the march had come to an end. “No one should think the march has ended. I will hold a long march with full force after the Supreme Court’s order. The party is ready to face what is ahead of it,” he added.
“We have decided to fully confront the government's fascist tactics," the PTI chairman said, adding that after the budget, it seems that the government will remain in power for only a month and a half. He claimed the International Monetary Fund (IMF) would not accept the coalition government's budget as global institutions were aware of the current set-up's incompetency. “The IMF and other countries are aware that the public does not support the current government,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, former finance minister and PTI Senator Shaukat Tarin feared the budget would trigger a storm of inflation and unemployment.
Addressing a press conference, he claimed the rulers would not get relief from the IMF despite having massively overburdened inflation-ridden people.
Flanked by PTI senior leaders Omer Ayub and Muzammil Aslam, Tarin said Federal Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had presented a very 'confused' budget, as he tried to fool the masses through jugglery of words. He cautioned the power price would hit Rs39-40per unit and petrol would sell at Rs300-310 per litre soon.
He said the government had set unrealistic growth targets in the budget which it would never be able to meet, adding the budget had a deficit of Rs4.2 trillion. He asked finance minister to be serious at least about the economy, as if debt had increased, the reality must be told that the economy grew considerably, remittances and exports remained at record levels, adding that the agricultural growth of the 'imported' government would be less than the PTI government as it would not even touch 3.9pc.
Tarin said large scale manufacturing (LSM), housing, services sector, remittances and exports all witnessed robust growth during the PTI tenure but the new government had withdrawn incentives provided to the industries, which would cause their closure. “It is alarming and will add to unemployment,” he maintained.
The PTI senator said the government would further increase the petrol prices. "Inflation has gone up to 24pc and unemployment would increase further and could soar to 25 to 30pc. The government will impose a petroleum levy of up to Rs35, which would bring another storm of inflation in the country,” he claimed.
“We think that they should also have increased the income tax but now they would bring a fixed income tax. They have set a target of petroleum levy of Rs750 billion. We provided Rs1 trillion worth of subsidies to the power sector,” he pointed out.
Tareen claimed that capacity charges would go up to Rs1,400 billion in the current year. “We left 43pc of new taxpayers in the data which the government is not using. I think they will have a problem with the IMF because a time bomb is in the budget,” he warned.
Former federal minister for energy and senior PTI leader Omar Ayub said that the prices of food items would skyrocket. “We had left the price of electricity at Rs16/unit, but now it will increase to Rs39 or 40 per unit and people would stone them.”
He said that since the 'imported government' was imposed through a conspiracy, our banking ranking had been on the decline, adding that in June-July, the power shortage would be 7,000MW. He claimed the petrol price would soon cross Rs300 or 310 per litre. “The rulers are hell-bent on destroying businesses, as the sole agenda of imposing the imported government was to ruin the Pakistan economy, which was thriving in our time,” he claimed. He said it would also destroy agricultural and industrial sectors and the gas bill would see a 400pc hike. Shocked at gas loadshedding in the summer, he feared industries were going to shut down.
The PTI spokesman for finance and economy, Muzammil Aslam, said that interest payments would increase by Rs1,000 billion in just one year. “Our remittances have also decreased and this year's deficit will exceed Rs7,000 billion. The rulers have already announced a mini-budget by increasing the price of petrol before the budget,” he added.