Govt raised petroleum prices ignoring political cost: Marriyum Aurangzeb

Information minister says PML-N prioritised state over politics

Present coalition govt did not take decisions for petty political advantages | Decisions were made in larger national interest.

ISLAMABAD  -  Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Tuesday said the incumbent govern­ment had responsibly managed the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and taken de­cisions to raise petroleum product prices ignoring “political cost”.

On the contrary, the previous re­gime violated the agreement with the IMF just for political gains, she said while addressing a news conference after inauguration of the Foreign Me­dia Digital Wall of Digital Electronic Media Unit here at the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications. “The government’s tenure will end in a few days, but we have prioritized the state over politics. In contrast, Im­ran Khan, who was certain about end of his government, subsidized petro­leum products and violated the IMF agreement which inflicted massive damage to economy,” she maintained.

The minister said that the present coalition government did not take decisions for petty political advan­tages, rather the same were made in the larger national interest. She said about 15 months ago the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and allied parties decided to save the country (from the clutches of an inef­ficient ruler). “Today we can hold our heads high and say that the govern­ment took the decisions for the sta­bility of the country’s economy,” she maintained. When the present gov­ernment came to power, Pakistan was on the verge of bankruptcy, she said, adding the inefficient and incompe­tent rulers of the past had brought the country on the brink of default for getting political mileage. After taking the charge of office, she said, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif restarted talks to revive the suspended IMF programme to save the country’s rep­utation. The present government not only removed the “economic mines” planted by the last regime, but put the country on the road of development. 

The minister mentioned that there were various reasons for recent in­crease in the petroleum product pric­es, including global market fluctua­tions as well as commitments made to the IMF. She said it would have been easy for the government to reduce pe­troleum prices for political gains, but priority was given to the economy and state. The Chinese Vice Premier’s visit to Pakistan showed confidence re­posed by the world in Pakistan under the leadership of Prime Minister She­hbaz Sharif, she added. The minister criticized the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government’s policies, highlighting surge in unemployment and poverty during its four-year stint which was marred by corruption and inefficiency. 

She claimed that the PTI chairman was still busy in hatching conspira­cies. Marriyum said during the floods, the Federal Government provided ample assistance to all provinces and took every possible measure to help the affected people. She said that dur­ing the past 15 months rule, many steps had been taken for transforma­tion and upgradation of the Ministry of Information and its attached de­partments. The PTV virtual studios had been set up, besides launching of PTVflix, she added. Similarly, she said, the entire archives of Radio Pakistan had been digilatized with the comple­tion of Rs 4 billion digital mondiale technology projects. Now Radio Paki­stan’s transmission would be listened in 55 countries, which was a historic step taken by the government.

Taking a jibe at the PTI regime, she said that they started a debate about the sale of assets and buildings of Radio Pakistan and Pakistan Televi­sion Corporation. Instead of raising slogans for getting cheap publicity, the present government in the short span of only 15 months took practi­cal measures to improve the financial health of the two national institutions and their transformation through the introduction of the latest technology, she added. She said the Foreign Media Digital Wall project at the Directorate of Electronic Media and Publications was a very important development. The Public Sector Department Pro­gramme project launched during the previous fiscal year was aimed at si­multaneous monitoring of electronic, print and social media, she added.

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