Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry on Friday said that the income of certain segments of society had increased despite growing inflation in the country.
Speaking to the media in Islamabad after a meeting of the PTI’s core committee, the minister conceded that the salaried class in cities across the country were feeling the economic squeeze. “At the same time, there are many segments of society where [people’s] income has seen a considerable increase.”
He said that the government had invested in the agriculture sector and the construction industry, because of which the income of those associated with the sectors had increased.
The minister’s comments come as the country is witnessing soaring price inflation. Last month, the finance ministry had warned of higher inflation, stating that the exchange rate, commodity supplies and seasonality could intensify the magnitude of prices and transportation costs in the country.
Meanwhile, inflation measured through Sensitive Price Index (SPI) posted an increase of 0.67 per cent for the week ending on Nov 4, the fifth consecutive week that had witnessed an increase. In October, the highest jump of 1.29pc in weekly inflation was recorded.
The opposition has also criticised the government over rising inflation and carried out a series of marches and demonstrations in protest.
Chaudhry said that the government will now provide relief to those sectors which had been severely impacted by inflation, adding that the whole world was suffering from an increase in prices due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“However, Pakistan is one of the few economies that have successfully dealt with the pandemic,” he said.
“If you look at our villages [and] if you look at figures in the newspapers, then you will see how car sales have increased while motorcycle and tractor sales have doubled,” he said, adding that the consumption of fertiliser, petrol and electricity had also increased.
The minister said that it would take time for the world to recover from the economic fallout caused by the pandemic.
He also questioned how other economies were posting positive economic growth, claiming that economic growth across the world is “negative” and has only increased in Pakistan.
‘Opposition has no leader’
Responding to a question from a reporter about the meeting between PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman earlier today, the minister said that the opposition “has no leader”.
“Bilawal […] does not even know about the streets of Larkana’s [so] what does he know of Pakistan’s politics. Fazlur Rehman came with a crowd to Islamabad in the first year [of our government].
“The entire opposition is composed of thakkay hue pehalwan (tired wrestlers). They are trying to stand using each other as a means of support.”
When asked to comment on the purported conflict with the government’s coalition partners, the information minister downplayed the matter and said complaints and disagreements were common in a parliamentary democracy.
“Our coalition parties have expressed confidence in the prime minister and his decisions,” he said.
The information minister also talked about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent appearance in the Supreme Court regarding the Army Public School case. He said the premier’s prompt appearance showed how much the ruling PTI respected the judiciary.
Chaudhry also said concern over the situation in Afghanistan was expressed in the core committee meeting. “We want that the whole world — especially the Muslim world — comes together on the Afghan issue and talks about it,” he said.