A day after fuel prices were increased for the third time in as many weeks, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday defended the unpopular moves, saying that the government was “left with no choice” because of “those who struck the worst ever deal” with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Miftah Ismail announced an increase in the prices of petroleum products by another Rs24 in an attempt to trim the fiscal deficit and secure critical support from the IMF. Cumulatively, the government has raised petrol prices by Rs84 since May 26, effectively ending the subsidy that the PTI government put in place in February.

The coalition government has, time and again, blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for devising policies that “damaged” the national economy. In his press conference yesterday, Ismail claimed that the PTI government never provided the people with relief when it came to staples such as wheat and pulses during its tenure but chose to reduce oil and petrol prices when it realised that the no-confidence motion would be successful.

In a tweet on Thursday morning, the premier admitted that he was aware of the impact that a fuel price hike caused. “Govt is left with no choice but to raise the prices due to IMF deal that PTI govt signed,” he said, promising that he would take nation into confidence on the specifics of PTI-IMF deal soon.

“I wonder whether those who struck the worst ever deal with IMF & took patently bad economic decisions have the conscience to face the truth,” PM Shehbaz continued. “How can they pretend to be innocent when what the nation is going through is clearly their doing? Details soon.”

He expressed the resolve that Pakistan would get out of these economic difficulties soon.

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