MINISTER for Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhary had acknowledged that the PTI Government has not been able to provide relief to the middle class. Addressing a function in Islamabad on Friday, he said instead taxes have been levied on the salaried class while rates of electricity and gas have to be increased putting burden on the people.
It is good that the Government has a realization of its failure on this account and this realization could help change the fate of the poor and the middle class, may be when PTI gets an opportunity to present its full year budget in May this year. Middle class has been the mainstay of PTI and their frustration and disappointment needs to be addressed soonest if the Government is serious about maintaining its popularity with the people. There are no two opinions that the Government was in dire state financially and it is making hectic efforts to address the crisis. As has also been pointed out by the Minister for Information, two thirds of the country’s budget goes to debt servicing and defence. It is understood that in the given security and strategic environment, Pakistan cannot afford to ignore its defence needs. Additional allocations for defence have also to be made because of the ongoing war on terror and once the Afghan issue is resolved and the problem of terrorism is taken care of, one can expect some savings on that account. However, as for as debt-serving is concerned, there is no ray of hope in the near future as the present Government too is depending heavily on local and foreign borrowings and the end result would be more debt-servicing. Under these circumstances, the only viable solution of the difficult situation is to focus on economic activities, industrialization and development of agriculture on modern lines. More investment and focus on enhancing exports could alleviate sufferings of the country and the Government then would be able to take measures for provision of genuine relief to the people. It is, however, also important to realize that there is a limit to burdening the people and the Government should strike a balance between the need to enhance its resources and provide relief to the masses.