Peshawar - Results of Sunday’s by-election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Mathra and Havelian tehsil councils have sent alarm bells ringing among the government authorities as one council was won by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the other by an independent candidate.
The results are also strange since PTI won one council despite the fact that several key PTI leaders left the party while its chairman has been put in jail. However, if analysed, the ongoing upward trend in the prices of various commodities, particularly the steep rise in prices of petroleum products, has become a problem for the ruling parties, comprising PML-N, PPP, JUI-F and other allies, in the times when the general elections have become the talk of the town.
The latest increase in prices of petroleum products took place on August 1, when Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s Finance Minister, announced that petrol prices were being raised rise by Rs19.95 to Rs272.95 ($0.952) per litre and diesel prices by 19.90 rupees to Rs273.40 per litre, indicating a 7.8% increase for both fuels. Dar cited global markets, where he said fuel prices had risen dramatically.
The government’s decision that the constituencies should be redrawn to reflect the results of the most recent census, which were just released, raised the possibility that the general election might not be held in November as anticipated.
Discussing the matter, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Governor Ghulam Ali, said: “The adjustment in constituencies and other arrangements for the elections on the basis of the fresh census may take time. In my opinion, we need another three to four months to hold the elections,” Ghulam Ali said. “However, if the Election Commission of Pakistan can manage things hurriedly, then elections may be possible in November.”
Some sources in the PML-N leader state that even the party chief Nawaz Sharif had advised his party subordinates and his brother Shehbaz Sharif, the current prime minister, not to take the reins of the government in the ongoing financial crisis.
“Nawaz had asked his party men to avoid dislodging Imran from government and let him continue government; in this way, he (Imran) would have been blamed for the ongoing price hike now. But the PML-N leaders did not agree on this, and they dislodged Imran and as a result, they are now been criticized for the spiralling prices,” he added.