Opposition slams PM for interfering with provincial PAC

Minister for industries and PML-N lawmaker debate over inflation

Rana Yasif April 12, 2019

LAHORE: The opposition slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interference in matters related to the Punjab Assembly Public Accounts Committee.

PML-N lawmaker Sardar Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari expressed his grievances while responding to the opening speech of Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal on inflation.

He said PM Khan is a symbol of the federation and his interference in PAC’s working was an attack on provincial autonomy. “This is a matter for Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar, provincial ministers and the speaker rather than the prime minster.” Speaking about inflation, he outlined that the underprivileged were “dying” due to the price hike.

As proceedings commenced, both the treasury and opposition benches were at loggerheads over the record skyrocketing prices. Each side continued to pin the blame and responsibility on the other.

There was pandemonium from both sides when Awais Khan Leghari responded to the opening speech of the PTI minister on the price hike. Both sides started raising slogans in favour of their leaders and against their opponents. Leghari quipped that the PTI government was too busy thinking about Prime Minister Modi’s election campaign.

Later, debates on the price hike and law and order kicked off. Punjab Industries Minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, in his opening remarks, said he was at a loss to understand that the same people who caused the price hike were now putting the blame on the PTI government. He stressed that the wrong policies of the previous government had left the country with an empty national exchequer. “Now the same people are asking PTI to straighten everything out in no time.”

Shedding light over the PTI’s six months’ performance to control the price hike, he said the government had conducted 514,599 raids and imposed fines worth Rs127,680,359 while also registering 6,879 FIRs against accused persons. He added that as many as 7,262 suspects had been arrested for their involvement in the matter.

He asked what reforms PML-N had introduced to steer the country out its deficit. The minister added the major companies and government institutions were at a loss of Rs190 billion and this figure surged to Rs593 billion by the time PML-N left government. He said the country’s loans had also increased exponentially during PML-N’s tenure, yet the party was asking how the dollar rate had increased.

He said the previous government controlled the dollar rate through artificial methods. Iqbal added that the previous finance minister disappeared from the country with important records.

He also lashed out at Ramazan bazaars, saying a subsidy of Rs9billion was given the last time. He added that a whopping amount was also paid as the bill for tent services during the holy month. He said those who made the lives of the poor miserable and left the national exchequer penniless should not talk about the price surge.

Responding to the minister’s onslaught, Leghari condemned Iqbal’s speech. He added that nobody could understand the speech of the minister.

He said diehard PTI leaders had been killed and their families asked why the perpetrators were not being arrested. “It is astonishing that great efforts are being made to arrest the Punjab Assembly opposition, yet there is no justice for the families of diehard PTI workers, such as Syed Rashid Bukhari, who were gunned down.

Later, PTI legislator Shehbaz Ahmed pointed to the lack of quorum and the deputy speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari had to prorogue the session for an indefinite period.


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