ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties registered a strong protest against the petrol price hike and surging inflation in the Parliament House on Friday.
The opposition lawmakers, carrying placards, raised slogans and demanded the withdrawal of the hike in prices of petroleum products. They asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign in light of the surging inflation in the country.
Earlier in the day, the finance ministry had notified a massive increase in the prices of petroleum products.
PML-N’s Khawaja Asif demanded that the government present inquiry reports on sugar and wheat scams and details of an agreement reached with the banned Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP).
Speaking on a point of order, the PML-N leader said they are not in the House to just deliver speeches and put up thumb impressions.
“We were elected to protect the rights of the people,” he said, adding that the members sitting on treasury benches are also worried about the plight of the people due to the price hike.
However, he said they are unable to raise their voices against it because of their affiliation to the government.
Referring to the prime minister’s speeches when he was an Opposition leader, Khawaja Asif said the country is searching for the leader who used to say that a prime minister is a thief when there is a price hike in the country, petrol is expensive and taxes are increased.
“This prime minister gives a relief package and then drops a petrol bomb,” he said. The PML-N leader said the National Assembly should take notice of the unprecedented price hike which has become intolerable for poor people.
At the same time, the Opposition stormed out of the Senate against the price-hike of essential commodities and termed the prime minister’s relief package a fraud.
The treasury benches, on the other hand, blamed past governments for inflation and indulging in corruption to acquire Surrey Palace and Avenfield apartments via laundered money.
The House echoed with slogans of ‘sugar thieves’, ‘flour thieves’ as the Opposition senators took the prime minister to task, blaming him for making the life of the common man miserable due to the rising inflation.
On the opening day of the new session, the Leader of the Opposition in Senate Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, after the question hour concluded, requested Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani to first allow them to speak on the latest increase in rates of petroleum products and price hike of other commodities and then take up the agenda items.
Senator Gilani said the prime minister was ill-advised to speak on the issue of price hike and increase in petroleum products’ rates and the impending gas crisis, saying that instead of him, the minister of finance should have explained these developments in a news conference.
PTI Senator Shahzad fired back at the Opposition, saying that had they not indulged in corruption in constructing motorways, roads and acquiring assets such as the Surrey Palace and Avenfield apartments through ill-gotten wealth, the PTI government would not have gone to the IMF.
“We are ready for serious talk and proposals but they want only one thing and that is that they should be back in power to continue all this again. They are not ready to face facts,” he added.
In the meantime, the Opposition senators came in front of the chair’s dais and then walked out of the House.