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April 12, 2019

Blame game mars PA debate on price hike


April 12, 2019

LAHORE: A debate on price control on the floor of Punjab Assembly Thursday remained inconclusive after both Treasury and Opposition indulged in classical blame game instead of giving any solution to the problem.

The House plunged into further disorder after PPP Parliamentary leader Syed Hassan Murtaza in his speech passed objectionable remarks against Shahbaz Gill, the spokesman for chief minister.

Besides, some of the women MPAs of the ruling party also threatened to stage a walkout when the PPP Parliamentary leader passed comments on their ‘education standards.’

The first day of the 8th Punjab Assembly session started with a delay of around two hours with Deputy Speaker Mir Dost Muhammad Mazari in chair. Questions related to the Ministry of Housing, Urban Development and Public Health Engineering were taken up in the House and the Minister concerned Mian Mehmoodul Rasheed responded to the queries of the MPAs.

Later, during the debate on price control, Minister for Industries Mian Aslam Iqbal slammed the PML-N government of past for pushing the country towards chaos. He said that the current price hike and other problems faced by the people were the outcome of the PML-N policies which literally put Pakistan on ‘OLX’ for sale. He said it was strange that the PML-N government established Motorway while seeking loan, and in order to pay that loan, it sought further debt and financially pledged the Motorway of the country. Same thing was done to bodies like Pakistan Steels and Pakistan International Airlines, said the Minister for Industries. He added that under the PML-N rule, the bodies like Pakistan Steels and Pakistan International Airlines suffered huge financial losses as compared to the 2013 when Nawaz government came to power. He said that the previous government created a ‘fake’ boom in the country and its finance minister, who was supposed to answer the queries of nation, was not returning to Pakistan.

Drawing a comparison of current and previous trade deficit, he said in 2008, Punjab had a surplus amount of Rs110 billion whereas by 2018, in 10 years of PML-N rule, the province was facing a loss of Rs1,100 billion.

In the agriculture sector, he said the PTI government fixed the price of sugarcane to facilitate the growers but they were still waiting for the payments which were due on the mill owners in previous tenure.

After the Minster for Industries had finished, PML-N MPA from Dera Ghazi Khan Sardar Awais Khan Leghari in his speech rejected the all figures presented by the government. He said it seemed quite strange when anyone associated to the present government tried to convince others over the issue of price hike. In reality, he said that under Prime Minister Imran Khan, around 10 million more people of the country had gone below the poverty line.

He said neither the government had any vision to address the growers’ issue nor could it provide any relief to the poor population of the country. Moreover, he voiced serious concern over the deteriorating law and order in Punjab, including the District of DG Khan, the area from where the CM Punjab belongs to.

He said an engineer was gunned down in DG Khan whose family was still demanding justice but nothing had been done. Besides, he said even more shocking was the murder of a PTI local office-bearer Syed Rashid Bokhari whose murderers had not been nabbed despite the availability of the CCTV footage.

He added that it was a matter of concern that not a single member of PTI had taken up this issue in the House and it was a PML-N MPA who had drawn the attention of the government towards this tragic occurrence.

Sardar Awais Leghari also said that Mehreen Bibi, an eight-year-old girl, was raped and murdered in DG Khan whereas her body was found from a wheat field in her village after the passage of around two days. For one and a half day, the local police remained unmoved over the incident which clearly indicated what was going around.

He said the father of Mehreen Bibi and relatives of other deceased persons asked the government that having snatched their livelihood, why it was bent upon claiming their lives. The PML-N legislator also came hard on prime minister for wishing Modi a success in the Indian elections instead of steering his own country out of crisis. He said the recent statement of Prime Minister Imran Khan that success of Modi in Indian elections was necessary to ensure durable dialogue process between the two sides said that in case Narendera Modi came to power again, the level of atrocities against innocent Kashmiris would increase many times.

The Opposition MPAs chanted anti-government slogans. Meanwhile, sloganeering started from both sides and later session was adjourned for Maghrib Prayers and both sides couldn’t provide any solution to the issue of price hike.

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