Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz on Thursday announced Rs160 reduction on 10kgs bag of wheat under the Rs200 billion subsidy for the province to provide relief to the masses.
The announcement comes amid the controversy over Hamza’s election as chief minister following the Supreme Court of Pakistan’s decision that defecting lawmakers’ votes could not be counted. The PML-N leader was elected to the post with the help of the votes of 24 PTI dissident MPAs.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore earlier today, Hamza said that he will stand by his people in difficult times
“Today, with immediate effect the 10kg bag of wheat that was costing about Rs650 would now be priced at Rs490 in Punjab,” he said.
He also claimed the current administration has met its wheat procurement target for the next year.
“The rate of wheat is $500 per tonne or Rs4,000 per maund, in the international market. But we procured 4.5million tonnes of wheat at Rs2,200 per maund,” he added.
The decision to provide relief in wheat prices also comes at a time when the Pakistani rupee devalued to the much anticipated Rs200 against the US dollar in the inter-bank market on Wednesday.
The country’s foreign exchange reserves have also depleted to the critically low level of $10.3 billion which covers just six weeks of imports compared to the usual three-month import cover.
‘Imran paralysed economy’
The Punjab CM said that former prime minister Imran Khan had paralysed the country during his tenure. He maintained that Imran was trying to divide and disrupt the nation through his political rhetoric.
“Imran Khan says that family members of the armed forces will be in his rallies. What is he trying to do by trying to involve state institutions in politics? If you want to fight then do so on the political front,” said Hamza.
The provincial chief executive decried that he had not been able to form a cabinet due to the ‘disease’ that was in the form of the Punjab governor and the one that is ‘sitting in the office of the president’.
“Both are working on the whims of Imran Khan and yet he asks why the courts were open late at night [on the of the no-trust move against Imran]. If the courts had not opened that night, then we all would have been in a banana republic by now,” the CM said.
Hamza added that it was Imran who said that he would not go to the IMF for any loan and later accepted their every term.
“It was Imran who made the people of the country suffer by making them stand in line for basic commodities like wheat, sugar and rice,” he alleged.
CM Hamza added that the people of Pakistan will have to suffer in the future owing to the PTI chief’s political rhetoric in the rallies.
“He [Imran] had angered many of our allies. First, China by saying there was corruption in CPEC projects. Then by saying ‘absolutely not’ he angered a super power with whom we want good diplomatic ties. Then the EU by making various statements against them. He has damaged our diplomatic relations.” he claimed.
Furthermore, the CM said the people of the country had been suffering due to inflation for the past four years.