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Khan Unveils 'Biggest Welfare Program In Pakistan's History' To Ease Inflation Squeeze

A Pakistani lawyers association joined in the countrywide protests against inflation on October 18.

Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced what he described as "the biggest welfare program in Pakistan's history" aimed at mitigating hardships in a country facing soaring inflation.

Under the 120 billion rupee ($706 million) subsidy program, 20 million eligible families will be able to purchase basic items such as ghee, flour, and pulses at 30 percent lower prices for the next six months, Khan said in an address to the nation on November 3.

He said the package would provide relief to a total of 130 million people.

As elsewhere in the world, the South Asian nation is facing inflationary pressures caused in part by coronavirus-related supply chain disruptions and rising commodity prices.

The annual inflation rate rose to 9.2 percent in October, up from 9 percent the previous month, according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics.

Maryam Aurangzeb of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) described the government’s package an “eyewash,” and insisted that the biggest relief for the country would be Khan’s resignation.