PML-N government backtracks on Shehbaz pay rise announcement

In an apparent “rollback” after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced a pay rise for government employees, former finance minister and top leader of the Pakistani Muslim League-Nawaz, Miftah Ismail, has said on Wednesday that since wages were increased a few months ago, the government is no longer raising them.

In his first speech as Prime Minister to the National Assembly, Prime Minister Shehbaz announced an increase in wages, pensions and the minimum wage for workers.

Read more: Prime Minister Shehbaz calls for urgent meeting with leading economists

He said the PTI-led government had left the country’s economy in tatters with the current account deficit and other economic indicators “deteriorating”.

He announced an increase in the minimum wage to 25,000 rupees and a 10% increase in pensions for retired government employees. Government employees earning less than Rs 100,000 would also get a 10% raise, he added.

“Since nurtured[eral] salaries for government employees were increased a few months ago, we will not increase them again,” Miftah wrote on his official Twitter account, saying it was not a “turnaround.”

Miftah, however, said salary issues will be taken into account in the upcoming budget. “In the meantime, we have increased pensions for retired government employees. Hope this clears up any confusion,” he added.

Also read: Miftah chastises PTI regime for ‘destroying’ economy

On Tuesday, Miftah Ismail said the country’s economy had been badly “damaged” during the tenure of the PTI-led government which he said had piled public debt at the level of 6.4 trillion rupees.

Addressing a press conference with fellow PML-N leaders Musadik Malik and Muhammad Zubair in Islamabad, Ismail accused the former PTI government of making the lives of the masses miserable through “imperfect” economic policies.

He said the budget deficit hovered around 5.6 trillion rupees and if additional subsidies of 800 billion rupees were included, the total amount would rise to 6.4 trillion rupees. The leader of the PML-N explained how the illogical decisions of the previous government had led to an increase in the overall debt.

William M. Mayer