Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Farrukh Habib has said that the opposition has failed to “mislead mass” on the issue of increase in petroleum prices. Talking to the media at Circuit House here on Saturday, he challenged the opposition to prove that the government had increased its levies on petroleum prices. “People are well aware of the fact that the increase was a result of oil price-hike in the international market,” he told reporters. He said that it was the practice of previous rulers to enhance the levies with the increase of petrol prices at the international level, but the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan had rather “reduced the levies to zero” in order to facilitate masses. He said that a summary to increase petrol price by Rs11 per litre was presented, but the government approved only an increase of Rs 5, though the price of oil had jumped from $34 per barrel to $70-75 per barrel in the international market. About remarks of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz, he said that she was a “certified liar”. She had claimed that she had no property in London and Pakistan, but it was proved later that she had properties not only in Pakistan but also in London. He said Maryam Nawaz was afflicted by “Imran-phobia” and she used the prime minister’s name at least 25 times in her speeches in Kashmir. Maryam was claiming that she was a daughter of Kashmir, he said. It was just a gimmick to win over the sympathies of the Kashmiri people, he claimed. He said that her father also used those tactics for political gains, but continued to ignore Hurriyat leadership and had a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Following in the footsteps of her father, she never highlighted the miseries of Kashmiris facing a curfew-like situation for over a year now nor did she condemn Modi who changed the status of Kashmir. He said that Nawaz Sharif had “inked an agreement with the Indian prime minister in 2017, in which the Kashmir issue was intentionally ignored whereas in all past negotiations, Kashmir always remained on top of the agenda”. On other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan, responding to a question by an Indian journalist, fully exposed the RSS ideology, which was the main hurdle in restoring normality in the region, Habib said. He added that PM Imran Khan also highlighted Indian aggression and as a result of his outspoken strategy, the Western media was also exposing Indian atrocities. He said that it was a “hard reality” that Prime Minister Imran Khan had put the economy on the right track while the opposition propaganda was meant to sabotage his sincere efforts. The cries of opposition were clearly indicating that they were facing defeat in elections in Kashmir, he added. About inflation, he said that the government had tried to rationalise prices in Utility Stores Corporation. He said that in January 2020 the prices were fixed 15-20% less than the market rates and now this difference had become 50%, which necessitated immediate rationalisation. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would launch Kamyab Pakistan package by end of this month. The basic objective of the project was to lift at least six million people out of poverty. In this connection, a package of Rs1,600 billion has already been approved by the Economic Coordination Committee. He said that the government had acquired the data of Ehsaas programme under which interest-free loans to the tune of Rs500,000 would be provided to the youth to start their own business. Similarly, a loan of Rs2 million would be given for the construction of houses, while the farmers would also be facilitated with loans through Kissan Cards. He said that there were 4,000 Utility Stores outlets with 900 franchises across the country and the government had doled out a subsidy of Rs25 billion during the last calendar year. He said that the government was fully aware of financial miseries of the poor segments of society and in this connection, the targeted subsidy would be offered so that the tax money should be distributed among the needy and deserving segments. For this purpose, the Utility Stores branches would be computerized by Sept 2021, he added. About Faisalabad, he said that the sewerage system had become obsolete and the government allocated Rs4 billion for the up-gradation of the drainage system. He said that the Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) had already replaced and improved sewer lines with Rs 300-350 million while disposal stations would also be up-graded for smooth discharge of rainwater.