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Shehbaz blames Imran for Pak economic woes in his first public address as PM


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Refuting the allegations of foreign conspiracy made by PTI chief Imran Khan, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday blamed the PTI chief for major problems afflicting the nation including mounting loans, inflation and economic woes of the country.

Shehbaz delivered these remarks after a massive hike in the price of petroleum products after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stressed abolishing the subsidies on commodities. This is his first address since he took over on April 11.

“The previous government is deliberately concealing facts. I want to remind them that you entered into a deal with IMF, not us. You accepted their harsh terms, not us. You pushed the country into an economic mess, not us,” Dawn newspaper quoted Shehbaz as saying.

This address came in the backdrop of a massive hike in petroleum announced by the Pakistan government. Pakistan’s Finance Minister Miftah Ismail on Thursday said the government had no other option but to raise the prices.

A day after his government announced a price hike, Shehbaz today said he was starting a new relief package of PKR 28 billion per month “to protect the poor from the burden of petrol and diesel price hike”.

“Under it, 14 million poor families are being given PKR 2000 [each]. These families comprise 85 million people.”

The Pakistan PM said this was in addition to the monetary aid already being given to them under Benazir Income Support Programme. “This relief package will be added to the next budget,” he said.

While delivering his address, Shehbaz said the country has incurred more than USD 20,000 billion worth of debt, which was more than 80 per cent of the total loans taken during the history of the country.

He said the incumbent government was ready to take tough decisions for moving the country towards progress to end the politics of “incompetency and corruption”.

Islamabad turned into a battleground on Wednesday as multiple scuffles took place between the police and PTI marchers after Imran Khan and his convoy entered the city and started marching towards the D-Chowk in the federal capital.

Later, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday dispelled the reports that he had made a deal in exchange for ending his ‘Azadi March’.

Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, Imran Khan said, “Do not think it was our weakness and don’t think that a deal was made. I am hearing strange things that a deal was made with the establishment. I did not make a deal with anyone.”

The PTI chief said that he would take the street again if an early election would not be announced. 

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