Opposition party leaders on Saturday slammed the government’s announcement of Pakistan’s expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth – which it estimated would hit 3.94% for the fiscal year 2020-21, a private TV channel reported. Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, in a series of tweets, said the country’s growth rate was 5.8% during the PML-N tenure, but now the premier is claiming a mere 3.9% growth rate. “An SBP (State Bank of Pakistan) representative objected to the figure being overstated. PTI, in its first year, had increased the original figure from 1.9% to 3.3%. This year too, they lied,” he said. The PML-N president said independent economists had predicted a decline in real incomes for Pakistanis this year. “Therefore, the growth rate – put forward by PTI – this year is also unrealistic, which will be lower when it will be reviewed.” Shahbaz said every week since February 5, prices have been showing a 13% increase. “Prices have increased by 17% this week compared to last year.” The PML-N president said middle-class households had faced a severe setback as the inflation rate was so high that the food prices had witnessed an increase of 14%. “Imran is running the country only for his friends,” he said. PTI has left five million people unemployed and 20 million in extreme poverty, he said, adding, “In a successful economy, inflation is low, employment is high, the government plans schools, hospitals, and infrastructure. Where does our economy stand?” Meanwhile, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that the PTI-led government has a unique talent in being “absolutely shameless when it boldly and brazenly misleads the people”. “The federal government has, since its first day in office, been fudging numbers and stacking statistics in their favour,” Bilawal said in a statement. “Fudging economic figures may feed the large egos in the government, but it doesn’t feed the people. These alleged facts and figures are tantamount to gaslighting the lived experience of the people who are being crushed under the economic failures of Imran Khan,” he added. The PPP chairman said that since the PTI formed government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa nearly a decade ago, poverty levels have4 increased exponentially, with figures showing that poverty has gone up from 9% to a whopping 27% today. In contrast, under PPP, the province of Sindh had managed to slash the poverty rate by 7.6%, he said in a statement. The PPP government in Sindh has also overseen Sindh’s rise in per capita income, with the province now leading in both rural and urban figures, he went on to say. “Despite soul crushing inflation and rapidly increasing poverty levels, the PTI-led federal government is preparing to levy taxes on the pensions of the retired employees,” he added.