ISLAMABAD: The minister for energy and petroleum has hinted at increasing the prices of petroleum products in his policy statement before the National Assembly.
During the NA session, chaired by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, Umar Ayub said, “Global oil prices are expected to surge due to a shortage of two million barrels in the wake of sanctions imposed by the US on Iran.”
Ayub said petroleum prices in Pakistan were still cheaper than in neighbouring countries.
“In order to control the prices of oil, an amount of Rs150 billion has been spent since August ,” said the minister, adding that circular debt of Rs1,580 billion had accumulated – Rs1,400 billion under electricity and Rs180 billion under gas.
The session took an interesting turn when government minority member Ramesh Kumar presented the bill on child marriage as three ministers opposed the bill. However, the bill was allowed to be presented on majority’s insistence.
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Muhammad Khan said, “The interior minister has sent a message that no further law-making is necessary over this matter.”
He said they would not allow any law against Islam to be approved even if the ministry had to be sacrificed.
Minister for Religious Affairs Noorul Haq Qadri opposed the bill, recommending sending the bill to the Council of Islamic Ideology.
Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari said, “The ban on marriage below the age of 18 is also in place in UAE, Turkey, Egypt and Bangladesh.”
She said as a fatwa had been issued in this regard by the Jamia Al-Azhar, should it be considered against Islam?
“It must be clarified that voting was carried out on the bill and the bill was handed over to the concerned committee with a majority,” she added.
Bills regarding controlling intoxicating items, creation of Hazara province on administration basis, allotting seats on the basis of voters list instead of population, employment and restoration of disabled persons and sale of human organs were presented during the session, which were handed over to the concerned committees.
AN MNA from erstwhile Federally Administered Tribal Areas presented a bill suggesting punishment for the officers and officials involved in enforced disappearances.
The minister for parliamentary affairs instead of supporting the bill, recommended sending the bill to the committee but the deputy speaker carried out voting on the bill which was rejected with a majority.
A bill to impose regulatory duty on the import of cotton was presented by MNA Riaz Fatyana.
In another resolution regarding the occasion of May 1 presented in the NA, it was decided that the house would support the UN charter for labourers. Both the resolutions were approved unanimously. Later, the session of the national assembly was adjourned till 11am Thursday.