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Monday, April 15, 2024  
06 Shawwal 1445  

POL products: Opposition slams govt for price hike in National Assembly

Opposition lawmakers were holding placards inscribed with "Shame, Shame"
Opposition has staged walkout from House to register their strong protest. File photo
Opposition has staged walkout from House to register their strong protest. File photo

By Naveed Butt | Ali Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Opposition political parties in the National Assembly Friday lambasted the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for the overnight massive increase in prices of petroleum products and the skyrocketing inflation and staged a walkout from the House to register their strong protest.

As soon as the House assumed its sitting of the 38th session with Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri in the chair, Minister for Law and Justice Farogh Naseem moved a motion under rule 288 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007 that the requirement of rule 290 of the said rules be dispensed with in order to allow the use of Chamber of the National Assembly on November 8, 2021 for a briefing to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, which was adopted.

When the chair opted to take the next agenda item, the opposition lawmakers started chanting slogans in the House to condemn the overnight massive hike in petroleum products' prices and the overall price hike across the country, demanding a House debate on the high inflation in the country.

The opposition lawmakers were holding placards inscribed with "Shame, Shame" and other anti-government slogans, besides chanting slogans against the PTI government for its failure to control the skyrocketing price hike.

Speaking on a point of order, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) senior leader, Khawaja Asif lashed out at the government for another massive increase in prices of petroleum products, saying that a "petrol bomb" was dropped on the people in the darkness of night.

He said that he had got to know from a treasury member that the prices of petroleum products would reach to Rs170 per litre in the coming days, adding that the prices of petroleum products are decreasing in the neighbouring India, while it is increasing in Pakistan.

Asif said that the opposition demands a comprehensive debate on the overall inflation and the hike in POL prices, adding that as representatives of the people, the parliamentarians are bound to protect the rights of the common people and they are answerable to the masses.

He asked the government to reverse last night's hike in prices of petroleum products, adding that the hike in petroleum products will further add to the miseries of the common man.

"I know many of the treasury members are also not happy with the hike in petroleum products and the overall inflation, as they would face their voters back in their respective constituencies," he added.

He lamented that the price of sugar has reached at Rs160 per kg in various parts of the country and the life of a common man has been made miserable due to the overall inflation. He asked the government to present all the reports of the inquiries conducted into various scams, including the sugar and flour.

Asif also flayed Prime Minister Imran Khan's relief package, saying that it is not sufficient to end the difficulties of the people who are badly struck by the price hike and unemployment.

He also reminded to the prime minister about his past promises made with the people, saying: "We are in search of that person who had promised 10 million jobs and five million houses to the people and to bring $200 billion back to the country. We are looking for that person who had stated that if there is inflation in the country, there will be thieves and robbers in power."

Asif also accused the government of putting the country's security at risk, adding that the country could not afford the current rulers anymore.

The PML-N leader also demanded that the government present the details of the agreement made with the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).

"Why the agreement with the TLP has remained in secret. The House be taken into confidence on the agreement and all the details should be laid before the house as to how many personnel of the law enforcement agencies got martyred in the protest and the details of the economic losses due to the protest and closures of the highways and business centers. Until yesterday, those who were their heroes, today they struck secret deals with them," he added.

When the chair gave the floor to the PTI MNA, Akram Cheema, to respond to Khawaja Asif's criticism over the government, Rana Tanveer Hussain of the PML-N pointed out the quorum, which initially led to suspension of the proceedings and later adjournment of the House to meet again on November 8, 2021 (Monday) at 6:00 p.m.

The House could not take up legislative business, two calling attention notices, motion of thanks, and a report of standing committee.

Talking to reporters outside the Parliament House, Khawaja Asif criticised the government for its "incompetence" to control inflation and the constant increase in prices of petroleum products.

A PTI lawmaker, Noor Alam Khan, also joined the voices against the price hike and the constant increase in prices of petroleum products.

"For God's sake, have mercy on the people," he stated in a brief chat with reporters.

This article first appeared in Business Recorder on 6 Nov 2021.

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