ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday announced the slashing of petroleum products’ price by Rs10 and electricity tariff by Rs5 as part of a series of measures to bring some relief to the masses.
The relief was announced by the premier as he addressed the nation about the country’s economic situation and the global challenges in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“I received a summary from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and they recommended increasing the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs10 due to the increase in the price in the global markets,” he said.
“So today I want to tell you guys this good news that instead of increasing it, we will decrease [petrol prices] by Rs10.”
In an immediate sharp reaction, opposition term government’s measures as “black-mailing” and will announce the reaction in detail soon.
In the same way, he said that electricity was also being made from imported fuel which had caused prices to soar. Regretting the fact that past governments did not invest in building dams, he said the PTI government is constructing 10 dams which would save the country from global price fluctuations.
“We have also decided to decrease electricity prices by Rs5 per unit. This means that there will be a 20-25 per cent decrease in you electricity bills.”
He said that there would be no increase in petrol and electricity prices until the next budget.
Talking about the cash handouts given to the people under the Ehsaas programme, the premier said that it had increased from Rs12,000 to Rs14,000. In addition, graduates would be given internships and paid Rs30,000, he added, without elaborating further.
PM stresses need for independent foreign policy
PM Imran began his speech by talking about the country’s foreign policy, stating that the situation in the world was changing which subsequently had an effect on Pakistan.
He said that his parents were born in an “enslaved India” which made him realise how lucky he was to be born in a free country as he was growing up.
“From the day I entered politics, I wanted a free and independent foreign policy. This means that a nation drafts a policy that benefits the country,” he said.
Highlighting an example of the “wrong foreign policy”, he said that Pakistan had participated in the American ‘war on terror’. “From day one, I said that we should not have participated [in the US war],” he said, adding that it did not ultimately benefit the country as 80,000 Pakistanis were martyred.
“The most embarrassing part was that, for the first time in history, a country was fighting in support of a country that was bombing it.”
He said that there were only 10 drone attacks during the government of former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf, but almost 400 during the rule of democratic leaders such as Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari.
Circling back to a free independent foreign policy, PM Imran said that these democratic leaders should have taken a stand against the US. “Neither of them issued a single statement,” he said, adding that an American journalist quoted Zardari as saying to America’s army chief that he was not affected by the collateral damage from drone attacks.
He noted that the assets of Russian billionaires stashed abroad had been frozen by the West since the Kremlin began its invasion of Ukraine. “I want to tell my nation that if you want an independent foreign policy, you should never vote for a party whose leaders have properties and assets abroad. They will never draft an independent foreign policy.”
Touching on his visit to China, the premier said that Pakistan received a lot of respect. About his trip to Russia, he said that it was necessary to visit Moscow as Pakistan needed to import wheat as well as for cooperation in the energy sector.