Miftah Ismail passes petrol price surge buck to PM Shehbaz
Zardari, Nawaz, Maryam, cabinet ministers criticize recent increase in petrol prices: Finance minister defends surge saying it's a right decision and he fully endorses it: Maintains economy heading in right direction since Shehbaz-led govt took office: Blames previous PTI govt for fuel blues: Says deal with IMF to be finalized this month
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After getting a good battering from his fellow ministers and even PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Vice-President Maryam Nawaz over increase in the prices of petroleum products, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail has defended his decision to raise the prices while passing the buck to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who, he claimed gave final approval for the rise, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
The visibly riled and exasperated Miftah Ismail put up a stout defence of his decision to raise prices of petroleum, saying the economy had been heading in right direction ever since Shehbaz Sharif’s government took office.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad after attending the Federal Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Miftah said “I stand by all the decisions of the government and the decision to raise the petroleum prices was the right one.”
He divulged that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif gave approval for the hike in petrol prices. “It is a right decision and I fully endorse it,” he added.
Replying to a question regarding former president Asif Ali Zardari’s concern over the POL price surge, Miftah said that he held Zardari in high esteem. “If he will ask for any explanation over price increase, I will explain it to him,” the minister said.
The minister blamed the previous PTI government for the fuel blues saying that the PTI government did not buy the cheap Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).
“The previous government did not make even a single cheap petrol and diesel contract,” the minister rued, adding that on top of that it relied on huge borrowing. The PTI government has left the economy in a complete shambles.
According to sources, during federal cabinet meeting, the ministers expressed their displeasure over increase in the prices of petroleum products. PPP leader Syed Khursheed Shah was also disapproved of the hike.
Earlier, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz tweeted that she could not support the government’s decision regarding increase in the petrol prices and stood by the people.
She went on to write: “Mian Sahib strongly opposed this decision and even said that I cannot burden the people with one more penny and if government feels any compulsion, I am not involved in this decision and left the meeting.”
When Finance Minister Miftah saw that ministers were unhappy with the petrol price increase, he gave them briefing regarding his decision. He informed them about the reasons behind petrol price surge.
Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif chaired the meeting of the federal cabinet.
The meeting discussed current political situation in the country and other matters of importance, the PM Office said.
It gave approval for the deployment of GB Scouts for the security of Karakoram Highway.
Sources informed that Gilgit-Baltistan government requested the federal government for the deployment of scouts for the highway security.
The GB Scouts would perform patrol duty at Diamir in Korakoram. The scouts would be deployed for one year. There would be four platoons of the scouts who would perform the security duty.
The district would provide the transport, logistics and other administrative facilities to them, sources added.
Replying to journalist Hamid Mir’s tweet in which the latter reminded Miftah of his announcement that he would not increase petrol prices, the finance minister said: “Mir sahib, I said I will not add one penny of new taxes or levies to the price. And I have not. But you know Hamid sahib that the fuel price summary is moved by OGRA and sent to Finance division through the Petroleum division. We get it only a few hours before prices are set.
“I am an easy target. Which is fine. But this price change only reflects the change in PSO costs and doesn’t have any new taxes. People are welcome to critique or criticise me. I know I am sincere to my country & have saved it from default & working to the best of my ability."
2) I am an easy target. Which is fine. But this price change only reflects the change in PSO costs and doesn’t have any new taxes. People are welcome to critique or criticise me. I know I am sincere to my country & have saved it from default & working to the best of my ability.— Miftah Ismail (@MiftahIsmail) August 16, 2022
Reporters Awais Kiyani and Waqas Azeem