Double price hike fuels passions in the Senate

ISLAMABAD:

The upper house of parliament witnessed opposition outcry on Friday over the new wave of price hikes, with its lawmakers blaming the incumbent government for capitulating to tough International Monetary Fund (IMF) conditions to withdraw subsidies as petroleum products and electricity prices soar.

Disrupting the proceedings of the Senate, chaired by Sadiq Sanjrani, opposition members carrying placards began to gather in front of the President’s dais and chanted “Imported government na-manzoor” (Imported government not acceptable).

Earlier, speaking on the floor, PML-Q’s Kamil Ali Agha said that the government has increased the hardship of the masses by raising petrol prices.

He criticized the increase in the prices of petroleum products calling it unprecedented in the country’s history while praising the previous government for subsidizing petroleum products to the tune of 466 billion rupees.

Former finance minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shaukat Tarin said the government should resist tough IMF conditions to revive the program and doubled down on his party’s demand that the government resigns and organizes general elections.

He added that he had foreseen the “collapse” the country’s economy would experience if the government led by Imran Khan was removed and claimed that economic growth under the previous government had been blocked by the coalition government led by Imran Khan. by the PMLN.

He claimed that the profit margin of oil refineries had been increased from Rs14 (in April) to Rs70 per litre.

Meanwhile, Jamaat-e-Islami lawmakers demanded that the government ban the use of state vehicles by civil servants.

Mushtaq Ahmed Khan said that given the difficult economic situation, no government official should use free gasoline.

Opposition leader Shehzad Waseem slammed the government for reneging on its “noble promises”, saying it sold the promise to raise the price of petrol to 70 rupees and instead the price had broken records, reaching 210 rupees per litre.

Referring to the rise in electricity tariffs, he joked that while electricity flowed through power lines when PTI was in power, the current government transferred that electricity onto the bills instead.

However, the proceedings became unruly when opposition members surrounded the speaker’s dais.

Senate President Sadiq Sanjrani called on protesting members to return to their seats and warned that members who disrupted proceedings would be suspended.

Speaking to PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan, Sanjarani threatened that the lawmaker’s membership would be suspended if he did not stop chanting. With that, the members returned to their places.

The opposition then moved an adjournment motion moved by the opposition regarding rising oil prices.

The house will now meet on Monday at 4 p.m.