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Miftah Ismail believes nation is backing price hike?

While winding up the budget debate in the National Assembly, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said that the Pakistani nation has been very supportive.

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Finance Minister Miftah Ismail is receiving intense backlash on social media for supposedly challenging the nation to protest against the massive price hike that Pakistan is facing.

While winding up the budget debate in the National Assembly, Miftah Ismail said that Pakistani nation has been very supportive. He said despite tough decisions taken by the incumbent government, for instance the hike in petrol prices, the nation did not come out out on the streets.

In a bid to comply with International Monetary Fund (IMF) demands, the government had raised fuel price three times, taking the price of petrol to Rs233.89 per litre.

Read more: How can Pakistanis save petrol while driving?

“Pakistan’s nation has stood by us because even when we made petrol expensive – and I admit we did – provoked them, triggered them, no one came out [on the streets],” the Finance Minister said.

People won’t retaliate?

Interestingly, Miftah Ismail’s supposed praise for the nation’s patience is being criticized. According to twitteratis, the Finance Minister is daring the people to come out on the streets.

“Finance Minister has a way of making things worse for himself. Now he is almost daring the people to come out on the streets,” Javed Hassan, a renowned economics expert tweeted.

“Miftah Ismail thanks the people that even after increasing the fuel prices by 57% (petrol) and 83% (Diesel), they did not protest against this imported government. In short, it gave them the courage to impose more burden on the people, who are already suffering,” a twitter user wrote.

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a 10% “super tax” on large-scale manufacturers and industries which rattled the stock market. At 12pm, the benchmark KSE-100 index was down 2,055 points.

The prime minister while announcing the tough decisions in the wake of the ongoing economic situation said that industries related to steel, cement, sugar, oil and gas, fertilizers, energy and terminal, and textile will face a 10 percent tax.

Read more: PM announces imposition of ‘super tax’

The decision was met with intense criticism both from PTI leaders and the public. Economic experts believe that instead of stabilizing the economy, the tax will squeeze the formal sector of the economy and will be passed onto the customers, thus leading to even more inflation.

Important to note, such dire economic conditions will certainly force the public to come out on the streets which it has done on many occasions, for instance the Mehengai Mukao March led by PML-N against the previous government. Moreover, the PML-N government has been the target of much criticism ever since it came into power.