ISLAMABAD - Chairman PTI Imran Khan yesterday criticised the government for increasing prices of petroleum products and said that the issue would be raised in the parliament.

In a statement issued by PTI Central Secretariat Imran Khan said: “ The government has failed to increase the collection of direct taxation and was increasing the burden on the poor and middle classes with indirect taxation, particularly on petroleum products. Khan stated categorically that there was absolutely no need for the latest increase in petrol and diesel prices.”

He pointed out that when the international oil price had fallen by 25 per cent in the first four months of this fiscal year, the government had only passed on a relief of less than 4 per cent in diesel prices which meant that the benefit of more than 20 per cent drop in oil prices had been pocketed by the government. This injustice towards the citizens, the farmers and businesses, all of whom are already struggling in adverse economic conditions, has now been further aggravated with the increase in petrol and diesel prices. Nor is this the only injustice being meted out to the ordinary citizens of Pakistan.

Imran Khan pointed out that private banks are making billions in profits at taxpayer expense because the government is borrowing at steep interest rates from these banks and repaying the loans with taxpayer money.

He added that what should be happening is for consumers and private investors to get loans so that economic activity could be encouraged in Pakistan, but these banks have effectively become lenders almost solely to the government.

Imran Khan also accused the government of repeatedly making a mockery of democracy by refusing to place before the houses of Parliament the LNG deal figures while holding grandiose seminars on the subject amounting to naught.

Why is the government so hesitant to take elected representatives into confidence? Khan asked.

He also drew attention to the complete economic fiasco in the state run enterprises where not only are entities like PIA and PSM being allowed to spiral on a downward fast track, but enterprises like Sui Northern and Sui Southern are suffering increasing UFG (unaccounted for gas/stolen gas) losses to the tune of 11 percent. This has led to over Rs 53 b in lost revenues.

He committed that not only will PTI protest the price hikes and other indirect taxes being inflicted on the ordinary citizens on all forums, including parliament, but will also raise the economic and financial blunders being inflicted on Pakistan’s resources and institutions in Parliament and in the media.