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Pakistan grappling with high prices, November inflation rate of 11.5%, the highest this year

Pakistan PM Imran Khan

Pakistan’s common citizens continue to suffer as the inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index (CPI), once again breached the double-digit mark to touch 11.5 per cent in November—the highest this year. According to data, Pakistan's inflation rate is among the highest in the world.As prices of daily essential items have surged, people across the country are struggling.

In April this year inflation rate had risen to 11.1 per cent and subsequently, in May it was 10.87 per cent. Though between July and October it was in single digit, inflationary pressures were high.

The hydra headed problem of high prices has started to haunt Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

A report published by the local newspaper Dawn noted that the cost of living has gone up by 35 per cent between August 2018 when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government took over and October 2021. “Food prices are 48pc more expensive today than there were in August 2018, with health and transport costing you 32pc more,” it said.

Also read: Are the Islamists led by Jamaat-e-Islami set to hijack the Gwadar agitation in Pakistan?

While the PTI has been trying to cite the Covid 19 outbreak as the main reason for such high inflation rate, even before the pandemic hit the world, Pakistan's inflation rate rose to a whopping 14.6 per cent in January last year. After remaining in double digits, it eased to single digit levels but in May Khan publicly urged his countrymen to “stay strong” while promising to work towards resolving the issue.

“It will be embarrassing for Imran Khan as things have only gone from bad to worse,” an analyst told India Narrative.

The Khan administration even announced Khan a 120bn-rupee subsidy package to bring down prices on essential food items last month but clearly, it has not helped.

High inflation directly hits the pockets of the common people as prices of all daily essential items as well otherwise have surged.

“An economic meltdown is putting the Pakistani prime minister, Imran Khan, under immense pressure and bringing the threat of unrest as record inflation – the fourth highest in the world – pushes the price of sugar higher than petrol,” a report by the Guardian said.

In early November, the retail price of sugar in Pakistan was around Rs 150 for a kg — more than Rs 138 for a litre of petrol.