Minister of State for Petroleum Dr Musadik Malik on Friday said the incumbent government had taken tough decisions regarding subsidies on petrol and diesel, in compulsion, giving a special focus on reviving the national economy and steering the country out of the financial crunch. Addressing a news conference along with senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, he said the previous government of PTI gave unjustified subsidies on petroleum products without any budgetary allocations and approval from the quarters concerned like the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the Federal Cabinet. Terming the subsidies ‘landmines’ installed by the PTI government before facing the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, he said it put around Rs700-800b extra burden on the national exchequer in three months, if taxes were included. Drawing a comparison, the minister said around Rs528b expenses were incurred annually to run the affairs of the whole federal government. Besides, Dr Musadik said the previous government also violated the commitments made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about the subsidies for getting financial assistance. “The PTI government, as a pre-condition, had signed a contract with the IMF that they will increase the prices and impose petroleum levy and sales tax. But it violated sovereign commitment with the international financial institutions,” he said. The minister said the PTI did all this to push the country towards default and bankruptcy for political gains, and recalled Imran Khan’s recent statements about the country’s strategic assets and disintegration. Dr Musadik said the coalition government, under dynamic leadership of Shehbaz Sharif, was committed to take due care of poor segments of the society by extending financial assistance to them. After thorough deliberations, he said the government would give a monthly stipend of Rs2,000 to the persons having Rs35,000-40,000 or less monthly income. As per the calculation, he said, almost four families out of six, have Rs37,000 per month income. With the corrective measures taken by the government, the minister expressed confidence that in the upcoming few months, there would be financial stability and the country would be on consistent path of progress and development. Now, he said the stock markets had started performing well and rupee against dollar was getting stability. He said the required measures had been taken to advance negotiations with international financial institutions including the IMF. He said the government believed in increasing productivity of industrial units so that more jobs could be created besides moving the economic-wheel at a steady pace. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said there was no country in the world that provided fuel to consumers below the purchase price, but in Pakistan it was happening as even the current government did not impose any levy and sales tax. He said the reasons behind increase in fuel prices were the global inflation and devaluation of rupee against dollar. “It (increase in fuel prices) was an extremely difficult decision taken after thorough review. If this step was not taken, the national economy would have collapsed,” he said. Abbasi said the subsidies could not be continued by getting additional loans from international institutions as it could cause extremely negative impact on the economy and unprecedented inflation.