Protest against increase in petroleum prices

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The joint opposition has registered a strong protest against recent increase in petroleum prices in National Assembly while in Senate, the opposition members staged walked out after the chairman disallowed debate over this issue. The opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly stood in their seats holding placards inscribed with slogans against the government for increasing prices of the petroleum products.

According to media report, Slogans like “New petroleum prices – Unacceptable” and “Price hike – Unacceptable” were written on placards held mostly by the women lawmakers. The opposition MNAs gathered around the speaker’s podium and started raising anti-government slogans. The government had increased the prices of almost all petroleum products for the month of May. For example, the price of petrol was jacked up by Rs9.53 per litre, as the General Sales Tax on petrol was increased from 1.94 percent to 12 percent and petroleum levy from Rs8.95 per litre to Rs14 per litre. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qasier repeatedly asked the opposition members to sit in their seats.

Amid the utterly noisy environment, the minister Hammad Azhar said the opposition parties had several times taken help from IMF in their governments and now they were protesting against the incumbent government. Senate situation In the Upper House of Parliament, the entire opposition staged protest walkout from the house for disallowing it to hold a discussion on the increase in prices of petroleum products – which led to the earlier adjournment of the house leaving the house business incomplete. Constant increase in petroleum prices is creating difficulties for the downtrodden segment of the society. It is causing increase in inflation rate. The devaluation of rupees in past months has resulted in increase in petroleum prices. The government should not put burden of its wrong decision on poor people. The protest of opposition parties in National Assembly and in Senate is understandable but it should not restrict to political point scoring on public issues. There should be a meaningful debate in parliament on public issues and opposition should provide solution to these problems. The government should provide relief to poor people otherwise it may face public anger and tougher situation in future.