We have to set our economy right : Miftah Ismail

He made the case that the government needs to “fix things”. “It is unfortunate that we have to approach other countries for packages, loans or deposits,” he lamented. “Pakistan is an honourable country and a nuclear power. We have to set our economy right.”

We cant afford expenditure for which we don’t have the capacity.

The minister then went on to question how the country was run by the PTI. “I don’t want to criticise but I will say that the subsidies that Imran Khan gave in February in violation of the IMF deal. Basically, he gave a cheque when he didn’t have any money in his account.

“We see this happening in the market. People give cheques and flee abroad. He did an act like this. In Karachi, we call it topi ghumana. Are countries run like this?”

He told the journalists present there that they and those in the federal cabinet were privileged, but the common man was not.

if you will drown them and make a Sri Lanka-like situation, the nation and history will not forgive you, and your conscience will also not forgive you.

He then stressed: “So if difficult decisions have to be taken, they will be taken. There is no choice but to take tough decisions.”

Ismail said the country had reached this point because of “mismanagement”, but “henceforth the government will do management”.

Addressing the reporters, he requested their cooperation to not be so hard on the government for taking the tough decisions. “If I raise the petrol price, I don’t take it home, I deposit it in national treasury, and your country cannot endure losses.”

He said subsidising fuel was no longer an option as that would eventually lead to increasing interest and inflation, which would make it difficult to borrow.

Ayesha Pasha then spoke to stress that the budget philosophy was to “burden people as little as possible” and there were many measures in that respect in the budget.

She also addressed the “complaints” about the budget not having any anti-inflationary measures. “Can we change the global cycle? But we did what we can. We did not raise indirect taxes or impose agriculture taxes.”