Asad Umar admits govt increased prices of gasand electricity, also value of dollar against Pak currency

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Nation special report
LONDON: Pakistan’sFinance Minister Asad Umar admitted on Wednesday that his the Government itselfincreased the prices of gas and electricity and also enhanced the value ofdollar against country’s currency.

According to observers, these were the steps which offended the public and now they are openly cursing Imran Khan and his government. Moreover, demolition of encroachments in Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other cities led thousands of affectees turn against the prime minister and his party. Social media and even the mainstream TV channels have become their instruments to raise the voice against the government.

In an interview in BBC’s programme ‘Hard Talk’, he said we did not wait for IMF to impose conditions to sanction required loan and we ourselves went forward to take such measures which may be required by the international monetary organisation.

Asad Umar put his party’s head Imran Khan in embarrassing situation revealing that the government increased the value of dollar against Pak rupees resulting the value of country’s current went down. Earlier, Imran Khan while addressing the nation on TV just last week stated that he came to know this parity through media and especially read this news in newspapers.

“We were not aware of this change in currency rate as it was initiated by State Bank itself. Now we have asked them (SBP) to keep us informed before taking such important decisions”, Imran Khan went on to say.

In a quite lengthy interview during which he was asked harsh questions, Asad Umar asserted that surveys held following the completion of PTI government’s first 100 days in power showed that “a very clear majority of Pakistanis think the country is moving in the right direction and heading towards a better place than where it was before”.

When asked how well the government was doing to keep up with the promises made by Imran Khan before coming into power, especially given the fact that the prime minister had previously remarked that he would be “ashamed to go abroad and ask for money”, Umar responded by saying:

“When the government came into power, it was a well-known fact that Pakistan needed some kind of a bailout…the real challenge, the real decision is — and that’s how we will be judged in the future — did we take the decisions of setting the country’s economy on a path where this is going to be what I have repeatedly said, the last IMF programme if we get into one right now.”