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Monday June 17, 2024

Opposition walks out over fuel price hike

By Moayyed Jafri
March 07, 2018

LAHORE: Opposition walked out of the Punjab Assembly session again, accusing the Speaker of partisan behaviour after the Speaker disallowed discussion on recent petroleum products price-hike.

Opposition Leader Mian Mahmood-ur-Rashid raised a point of order demanding a discussion over the unjustified increase in oil prices. He said there has not been any substantial increase in the process in the world while in Pakistan, the government is crushing the people to balance out their terrible financial policies.

Mahmood-ur-Rashid was stopped by Speaker Rana Iqbal who interrupted his speech by saying that the point cannot be discussed in the provincial assembly because it was about a federal subject. The Opposition leader argued that National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is also a federal institution and if Rana Sanaullah can present, discuss and get a resolution passed about NAB why can’t this issue be taken up by the house. He said the NAB resolution was guarding an individual while this issue concerns the 220 million people of this country. Therefore, he said, if the rules of the provincial parliament can be suspended to allow for the NAB resolution; they can surely be suspended to discuss an issue that affects the entire populous adversely.

The Speaker; however, did not consider that argument and said if the matter of petroleum prices was to be discussed in that manner, the proper procedure of submitting a resolution and getting it approved should be adopted instead of random point of order. The opposition alleged the Speaker for partisan behaviour and walked out of the assembly. While on their way out PTI MPA Nabila Hakim Ali Khan pointed out quorum. The quorum was found short and despite the usual bell-ringing exercise could not be completed on which the session was adjourned until Wednesday (today).

Provincial Home Ministry Parliamentary Secretary Rana Muhammad Afzal did not show up because of which the questions regarding the Home Ministry could not be answered and were pended for a later day by Rana Iqbal. Parliamentary Secretary for Law & Parliamentary Affairs Ch Nazar Hussain addressed the questions regarding law and order.

Earlier, the house passed two resolutions on this Private Member Day with slight amendments to their texts. The resolution by Hina Pervez Butt called for building of mass storage (reservoirs) on emergent basis to address the water crisis. Provincial Minister for Human Rights and Minority Affairs Khalil Tahir Sandhu proposed that the resolution may be amended to state that the reservoirs be built in the light of the feasibility studies done by the relevant department, which was accepted by Hina Pervez Butt and the resolution was passed.

The second resolution passed by the assembly was about the pending issue of Katchi Abadis. Ms Nabila Hakim Ali demanded that the habitants of declared Katchi Abadis by the Lahore Development Authority should be given ownership as soon as possible. Mr Sandhu acknowledged the demand as legitimate, however, he proposed an amendment stating that the ownership rights be given according to the government policies already defined, to which the mover of the resolution agreed and the resolution was passed.