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Amid criticism over the increase in fuel prices by Rs30 per litre, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday said the decision was taken by the government “with a heavy heart” as inflation has skyrocketed.

The government on Thursday jacked up the fuel prices in order to meet the International Monetary Fund’s bailout conditions. Many people have criticised the decision and expressed concerns that it will result in a further hike in the price of basic commodities.

The price of a 20kg bag of flour or atta has gone up by 22% in Pakistan, the ministry of industries and production announced.

In order to overcome the financial pressure, PM Shehbaz on Friday announced a Rs28 billion relief package for low-income households, under which Rs 2000 will be given to every low-income household each month.

“This [relief package] is the people’s right. People are crushed under inflation, poor families are unable to buy bread, and medicines, and they don’t have money for treatment,” he said outside the Lahore court where he appeared in the hearing of the case filed against him and his family by the Federal Investigation Agency.

The premier reiterated that an amount of Rs28 billion has been allocated to low-income households from the national exchequer.

To a query on Youm-e-Takbeer, he praised former premier and brother Nawaz Sharif for the achievement and maintaining cordial relations with the leading economies at that time.

“Nawaz Sharif said I have to save my people and thanks for your $5 billion. We will not compromise on national defence,” PM Shehbaz said.