ISLAMABAD: The government Friday placed a list of 19 state-owned entities under its active privatization programme in the Senate amid chants of ‘shame, shame’ by the opposition.
In a written reply to a question by JI Senator Mushtaq Ahmed, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said as many as 19 companies were on the privatisation list, which included Pakistan Steel Mills, Roosevelt Hotel, Heavy Electrical Complex, Haveli Bahadur Shah Plant, SME Bank, First Women Bank, Services International Hotel, Jinnah Convention Center and Mari Petroleum, Pakistan Engineering Company, Sindh Engineering Limited, House Building Finance Corporation, OGDCL, Pakistan Petroleum Limited, Guddu Power Plant, Nandipur Power Plant and State Life Insurance Corporation.
Senator Mushtaq said the government used to say that Roosevelt Hotel was not on the privatization list but in actuality it was.
Speaking on the calling attention notice regarding the recent increase in prices of 94 important drugs, including the life-saving ones, Senator Mushtaq claimed that the rates of medicines had increased 500 percent since the PTI came to power.
He said the prices of drugs had been increased seven times and hence the government had deprived the people of their right to treatment.
He pointed out that these medicines included life-saving drugs and tabs for headache, BP, diabetes, eye ailments and malaria. He demanded of the government to withdraw all the increases, which he outright rejected. He alleged that drug prices were being increased to please the pharma mafia.
He claimed that 45 drug companies belonged to the PTI office-bearers and proposed availability of medicines to people at the utility stores at subsidized rates.
Responding to the calling attention notice, Minister of State for Parliament Affairs Ali Muhammad said it was the government’s effort to ensure availability of quality medicines to people at reasonable rates. He said the prices of 94 medicines were recently rationalized to ensure their production remains viable for the pharma industry. The House passed two resolutions expressing profound grief over the death of former senators Syed Qurban Ali Shah and Hazrat Hameeduddin Sialvi.
Praying for the departed souls, the resolutions said the services of both the senators would long be remembered.
At the outset, the House offered fateha for the security personnel martyred in recent terror acts in Ormara and Waziristan as well as the religious scholar Maulana Adil, who was shot dead in Karachi.
Leader of the Opposition Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul-Haq voiced concerns over ceasefire violations by the Indian forces on the Line of Control and recent terror acts in the country.
Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan said security forces were giving a befitting response to Indian aggression on the LoC. He, however, said India was playing a dangerous game in the region, which posed a threat not only to regional peace and security, but also to the world.
“We are proud of our security forces that are rendering their lives for the country’s security,” he said.
The House offered fateha for the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan, who was martyred on this day in 1951 in Rawalpindi.
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