Friday Oct 22, 2021
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Fawad Chaudhry, on Friday announced that the PTI-led government will soon bring "great relief" to the masses on essential food items.
Fawad's statement came amid countrywide protests staged by Opposition parties against the rising inflation in the country.
The minister said that the masses will be provided relief on several basic food items, including wheat, sugar, pulses, and ghee.
"Aside from food items, the government will also provide relief to the masses on health and education," he said, adding that all citizens of Punjab will be eligible to get a health card by March 2022.
"The issuance of cards will start in December this year and citizens will be able to choose a doctor or hospital to get treatment," the minister said.
"Using the health card, citizens will be able to avail the services of both public and private hospitals free of charge," he said.
Fawad Chaudhry said that every family in Punjab will be able to use Rs1 million annually from the health card while this "game-changer programme will now provide quality treatment to the poor as well as people belonging to the middle class."
Opposition parties have taken to the streets in various cities across Pakistan to put pressure on the government amid surging inflation in the country.
After the call to protest was given by the Opposition, protesters took to the streets in Karachi, Larkana, Lahore, Sukkur, Mardan, Jacobabad, Mohmand, Ziarat, Mingora and other cities of the country.
People shouted slogans against the government and rising inflation. Traffic at the Quetta-Chaman highway remained suspended for several hours due to the rally.
In Karachi, the demonstration started near the Empress Market area, due to which the surrounding roads had to be sealed.
In Lahore, PML-N members staged a protest against inflation at the Jain Mandir Chowk while carrying utility bills and pieces of rotis (bread) in their hands. Akin to that, party members in Muzaffargarh started a protest rally from Central Jamia Masjid to Qanwan Chowk. Members of the Jamaat-e-Islami also staged a protest in front of the Muzaffargarh Press Club during which they chanted slogans against inflation.
PML-N's Qari Saifullah Saifi led the protest in Murree. When protesters reached the city's Mall Road, many tourists also joined in.
In Mardan, protesters started gathering at the city's Kachehri Chowk, while in Gilgit, members of PML-N, as well as JUI, participated in the protest rally at Ittihad Chowk.
Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly and PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif appealed to the masses and asked them to join the protest against growing inflation in the country.
He maintained that giving more time to the government means that people of the country will have to face more troubles, more inflation, more unemployment.
"The economic condition of the country and its people would not improve unless we get rid of this tyrannical government," said Shahbaz, as he directed party leaders of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to ensure cooperation with civic and business organisations and people's associations and appealed to the people to join the nationwide protests against inflation.
Earlier today, PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah had said that demonstrations will be held at Lahore's Jain Mandir Chowk after Friday prayers. The former Punjab law minister invited labourers, traders, lawyers and other wings to support the Opposition's protest.
"The masses will get relief only when this inept and corrupt government is sent packing," said Sanaullah, urging people to come out of their homes and join in.
Separately, the PPP also held a protest in Karachi — led by Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah — against the rising inflation in the country. The protest was held in Karachi's Malir district.
CM Shah, while addressing the participants of the protest, criticised the incumbent government and said: "Thieves of wheat and sugar should spare the poor masses. Only Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari can rid the poor of inflation."