THE issue of price-hike, which has assumed the status of Number One concern of the people of Pakistan, is regrettably not getting due attention from the government as well as the opposition.
The statements and comments made by leaders representing the two sides after the latest hike in prices of POL products and power tariff make it absolutely clear that they are misusing a genuine problem of the masses for their political advantage.
It is highly regrettable that immediately after passage of the mini-budget envisaging taxes worth Rs 343 billion rupees, the Government opted to increase the prices of petrol and diesel citing increase in the price of oil in the international market.
The prices of oil have surely hiked in the global market but it is also a reality that when the prices went down during the last few months, the Government did not pass on the entire relief to the consumers and, therefore, the latest increase could have been absorbed by the government itself.
The straightaway transfer of the burden to the people is the height of insensitivity and to add salt to the injuries some Federal Ministers, even after three and a half years of governance, are still claiming that the past government is to be blamed for the price-hike.
And a statement of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi that the PTI Government would be able to check the price-hike by the end of 2023 has blackened prospects of any improvement in the situation during the tenure of the Government.
It is ironic that instead of making sincere efforts to address the challenge through policy and administrative actions, the Cabinet members seek refuge behind non-issues of ‘deal and dheel’ in their apparent attempt to divert attention of the people from real and burning issues.
The Leader of the Opposition, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, has described the latest hike in the prices of POL products and electricity tariff as ‘economic murder’ but the opposition is not agitating the issue as it should have.
The political parties must realize that their vote bank would not remain intact if they persisted with the policy of lip-service to the issue of back-breaking inflation.