No inflation in country, claims minister as Senate session sees heated exchanges
Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan has claimed there is no inflation in the country, barring few essential items whose prices are posing a challenge to the government, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.
Speaking at the Senate floor, the minister put all the blame of power breakdown that plunged the entire country into darkness last Saturday on the shoulders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government.
Winding up discussion on inflation and energy crisis in the country, he said the country was now paying the price for flawed planning of the last PML-N government, and that it would continue to pay the price till 2023.
“Contrary to the PML-N government, which could only generate 18, 000 megawatts of electricity, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government is generating 23, 000 megawatts of electricity,” he claimed.
Omar said the government was now paying additional subsidy of Rs247 billion.
The minister said he was ready to show to the House the articles former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB) had written in which he showered praise on Gen Ayub Khan.
When he called former president Asif Ali Zardari Mr ‘10 percent’, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) members strongly protested, turning the House into a fish market.
It was with great difficulty that Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani managed to calm down the angry PPP senators.
Omar said that when a large quantity of hoarded wheat was recovered in Sindh, it again disappeared and the federal government was told by the provincial government that mice had eaten the recovered grains of wheat.
“Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah knows all that, but he lies once he comes out of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) meeting,” he alleged.
He claimed that prices of LNG had come down.
Regarding last Saturday’s blackout, the minister clarified that this was the eighth and not the first blackout in the country’s history.
“Power breakdown did not last long as by 8 on Sunday morning, electricity supply had been restored to several parts of the country. We have formed a committee on the blackout, which is working,” Omar added.
Disclosing that inflation rate in the country which was 14 per cent in 2020, had come down to 7.9 per cent in January 2021, Senator Waleed Iqbal said PDM’s ‘propaganda’ on inflation had no more substance in it.
He told the House the government had been working for the last several months to bring down the inflation rate.
However, he admitted that prices of flour, sugar and ghee were a cause of concern for the government.
Dr. Babar Awan said ever since the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law had been enacted, no government introduced any amendment in it. “No attempt was made during the last 10 years to introduce changes in it,” Babar said, and added it was only after the PTI came to power that an ordinance was promulgated.
He further said it was heartening that the country’s economy was finally on the right track.
Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala said he had received copy of NAB’s reference against him, and that he wanted an open trial.
He alleged that NAB had intruded into every person’s bank account, adding nobody was safe now from its scrutiny.
He said he wanted those affected by NAB to come over to Senate and narrate their ordeal.
He categorically stated he would not relent come what may. “No matter how many cases you frame against me, no matter how many hiccups come in my way, I will not give up on my struggle against NAB’s intrusions,” he vowed.
Later, the Senate session was adjourned till 3pm on Monday.