ISLAMABAD: Weekly inflation in Pakistan, measured by Sensitive Price Index (SPI), increased to 31.83 per cent for the combined income group on a year-on-year basis ending January 19, Pakistan-based Dawn newspaper reported.
This comes amid a surge in prices of food and non-food items, according to data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) on Friday.
The SPI monitors the prices of 51 essential items based on a survey of 50 markets in 17 cities across the country.
During the week under review, the prices of 23 out of 51 items increased, 11 decreased, and 17 remained stable, Dawn newspaper reported. The price of the following items jumped on a year-on-year basis, onions (482.07pc), chicken (101.93pc), tea Lipton (65.41pc), eggs (64.23pc), diesel (57.34pc), rice basmati broken (56.09pc), pulse moong (55.63pc), rice Irri-6/9 (50.28pc), salt powdered (49.50pc), bananas (47.73pc) and wheat flour (46.38pc). A major increase was observed in the prices of rice basmati broken (3.54pc), onions (3.50pc), chicken (3.21pc), bananas (3.04pc), rice Irri-6/9 (2.43pc), garlic (2.16pc), bread (1.45pc), cooked beef (1.26pc), tea prepared (1.22pc), cooked daal (1.12pc), LPG (2.34pc) and washing soap (1.54pc), Dawn newspaper reported.
A decrease was observed in the prices of wheat flour (5.98pc), tomatoes (2.87pc), potatoes (2.73pc), sugar (0.94pc), vegetable ghee 1kg (0.50pc), vegetable ghee 2.5kg (0.41pc), pulse masoor (0.38pc), eggs (0.09pc), cooking oil 5-litre (0.07pc), pulse gram (0.05pc) and mustard oil (0.01pc).
Al Arabiya Post recently reported that Pakistan could sink deeper into the quagmire especially if the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme is not resumed within the next few weeks.
IMF is delaying its 24th loan, and the Saudis and the UAE have warned Pakistan that they will no longer serve free lunch.
Pakistan must introduce reforms and push them to the last. The Gulf friends delivered this message to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the new Army Chief, Gen. Asim Munir, who visited earlier, reported Al Arabiya Post.
The warning comes as Pakistan is currently gripped by the chicken-and-the-egg syndrome. Its economic woes are caused by its bad politics - or, the friends ask: Is it the opposite? Pakistan is facing existential multi-dimensional crises of politics and economy with a highly dysfunctional state.
It is about much more than democracy and debt. Short-term fixes and political engineering may not work this time.