Pakistanis feel crunch of rising prices

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on April 4, 2019 - Duration: 01:27s

Pakistanis feel crunch of rising prices

Inflation has reached its highest in more than five years in Pakistan, and residents across the country say it has shattered their faith in a government elected last year on a pledge to eradicate poverty, create jobs and build an Islamic welfare state.

Edward Baran reports

Pakistanis feel crunch of rising prices

Inflation is at a five year high in Pakistan.... Many across the country say it's shattered their faith in lawmakers, who were elected on pledges to create jobs and build a welfare state.

Residents in the major cities are feeling the pinch -- with small groups of protesters out on the streets.... (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) 30-YEAR-OLD ISLAMABAD TAXI DRIVER, YASIR SULTAN, SAYING: "(Prime Minister) Imran Khan was saying big things about providing employment and getting rid of poverty, but he isn't erasing poverty, he is erasing the poor." (SOUNDBITE) (Urdu) RETIRED SCHOOL TEACHER, MOHAMMAD MUMTAZ, SAYING: "We cannot even purchase bread with whatever we have.

God alone knows what will become of the poor man." The government's wrestling with a ballooning current account deficit as it seeks a 13th bailout package from the IMF Now it faces a hard choice -- impose pain now or face the risk of crashing the economy further down the line.

Inflation was over 9.4 percent in March -- with strong increases in food and energy, hitting consumers hard.

A large pool of surplus labour is set to keep wage rises in check And the price hikes will keep consumers away from all but essential items. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHIEF ECONOMIST AT TOPLINE SECURITIES, SAAD HASHEMY, SAYING: "The fiscal trajectory now depends on what extent the government is going to adjust energy prices.

If they are to go the full extent they need to plug the gap, then inflation in a few months will go into double digits." Whatever happens, inflation looks certain to rise still further.

And it remains a bleak picture for the poorest here, who feel they are being abandoned and their plight ignored.

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