The furor over fuel price hike earlier this month finally ruffled some sheaves on Wednesday when the National Assembly speaker constituted a special committee to review the hike.
The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party had received flak from both, opposition and allied parties, in the upper and lower house of Parliament when fuel prices were raised by up to 6%, and diesel crossed the Rs100 per litre mark.
National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza constituted a special committee on Wednesday to review the present prices of petroleum products, according to a notification issued by the National Assembly Secretariat.
“The committee has been mandated to review the present prices of petroleum products within one week,” the statement added.
Earlier on February 14, after the passage of the 20th Amendment in the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had asked the speaker to constitute the committee to review fuel prices.
The committee will comprise Water and Power Minister Syed Naveed Qamar, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada from the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, Engineer Khurram Dastgir Khan and Rana Tanveer Hussain from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Dr Farooq Sattar from the Muttahida Qaumi Movement.
Earlier this month, the government’s coalition partners had joined hands with the opposition PML-N and introduced a joint resolution in the National Assembly, demanding the government withdraw the latest increase in domestic oil prices.
Similarly, members in the upper house of Parliament from PML-N, PML-Likeminded, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl and Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party had also staged a walkout from the Senate against the price hike.
Petroleum Minister Dr Asim Hussain had opposed the motions against the increase in both the houses, saying petroleum prices were not finalised by the government, but by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra).
Contrary to the minister’s claim, however, the government had reportedly taken the decision against Ogra’s recommendation. The authority had suggested the government keep petroleum prices unchanged on February 1, 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 16th, 2012.