Opposition up in arms against fuel price hike

MPs resort to noisy protests in NA, Senate; reject PM’s relief package


Saqib Virk/Shabbir Husain November 06, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Opposition strongly protested in both houses of parliament on Friday over increase in the prices of petroleum products and sugar, and demanded a debate in parliament on the issue of inflation in the country.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) parliamentary leader in the National Assembly Khawaja Asif and Opposition Leader in Senate Yousuf Raza Gilani of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) raised the price hike issue in the two houses.

The opposition lawmakers said that the government “ambushed the people in the dead of night” by dropping a “petrol bomb” on them late on Thursday. “What kind of government is this? What were their promises?” inquired Khwaja Asif in the National Assembly.

During a tumultuous session, chaired by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, the opposition lawmakers carried placards inscribed with slogans against price hike and chanted “Shame, Shame”. Asif also demanded discussion on inflation in the house.

He also demanded of the government to present “its secret agreement” with the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) in the house. “Instead of making secret deals in the dark of night, come to parliament and tell us what is going on,” the PML-N leader told the lawmakers.

Meanwhile, a motion was passed by the house seeking to convene the session for a meeting of the Parliamentary National Security Committee. The motion was presented by Law Minister Forough Naseem. Later, the session was adjourned till Monday due to lack of quorum.

A similar situation was witnessed in the Senate, which met here with Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair. Raising the issue of rising oil prices, the opposition also rejected the relief package announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying that the people need reduction in the prices of food items.

Read More: Govt keeps fuel prices unchanged

Opposition Leader Gilani took the floor immediately after the Question Hour in the Senate session. He said that the prices of petroleum products had been increasing for the last two months, adding that the most recent increase had offset the relief package announced by the prime minister.

Senator Mushtaq Ahmed of the Jamaat-e-Islami rejected the relief package of the prime minister. He said that the people did not want any relief packages from the government, rather they wanted reduction in the prices of basic commodities.

PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar protested against the increase in prices of petroleum products and said that the normal proceedings of the Senate should be suspended. He said that the people were dying because of the price hike.

Leader of the House, Dr Shehzad Waseem responded to the opposition’s charge. He said that the opposition knew the reasons for the increase in the prices of petrol. He added that petrol prices had doubled in the world markets.

“The whole world is in the grip of inflation,” he said. “The government is not oblivious to its responsibilities, the government is trying to protect the masses against this inflation,” he said, referring to the relief package announced by the prime minister.

“Imran Khan has built the cheapest roads, today the money does not go to Avenfield and Surrey Castle,” he said. However, during Dr Shehzad Waseem's address, the PPP and the PML-N members rose from their seats and shouted slogans.

The chairman tried to control the situation, but the opposition members staged a walkout. Meanwhile, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman pointed out the quorum. At this, the session was adjourned till Monday evening.

Against the rise in prices of petroleum products, PPP Senator Behramand Tangi rode a bicycle to reach the Parliament House from the Parliament Lodges. “I am a parliamentarian but I can't afford petrol now," he said. The people must now take to the streets against this government,” he added.

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