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NA resounds with calls for check on inflation

12 December, 2013

ISLAMABAD: The session of National Assembly, which continued its debate on the rising inflation, broke down at its fag end on Wednesday due to a lack of quorum.

Although the Lower House of parliament discussed different issues, but the lack of members from the treasury side, particularly ministers, prompted PPP's Ayaz Soomro to point out the lack of quorum. This led towards the adjournment of the session. Earlier, the opposition side continued its onslaught against the government over rising inflation, and asked it to take immediate measures to check the increase in the prices of various commodities.

The debate on inflation is underway in the House on a motion moved by Minister for Science and Technology Zahid Hamid. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's stalwart Makhdoom Javed Hashmi noted that people would lose their faith in democracy if politicians did not come up to their expectations. "The system will not change through long speeches, and practical steps are needed to resolve matters concerning the masses," he said and announced that the PTI would stage a sit-in on December 22 in Lahore against the price hike.

Meanwhile, Dr Arif Alvi of the PTI said the government should announce a package to give relief to the poverty-stricken people. He said price hike is affecting the lives of common people and the government needs to take emergency measures to bring down the prices of daily-use items. He asked the government to bring the elite and affluent class into the tax net to narrow down the difference between the rich and the poor.

Ayaz Soomro remarked that there should be no difference between Lahore and Larkana in distribution of resources in the country. "Practical steps should be taken to control price hike in the country," he urged. He further said that there was need of a viable economic programme for the country and appealed the government to revive magistrate system in the country to control price hike.

Taking part in the debate, Sajid Ahmed of the MQM said that the government should properly work on tax recovery. "Inflation should be controlled in the country, as around 50 percent of people live under poverty line and are suffering many difficulties." PML-N's Daniyal Aziz called for tightening the monetary policy to address the issue. Earlier, National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq directed the ministries to ensure answers to the questions of the legislators.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told the House that the government has geared up to recover outstanding electricity dues from the provincial departments. He said that directives have been issued to the provincial departments to pay the electricity bills or their connections will be disconnected. He said the Karachi Electric Supply Company (KESC) owes one hundred billion rupees, while fifty billion rupees are outstanding against the Sindh government.

The minister said that an agreement to provide 660MW electricity to KESC is illegal and the court will be approached to review this accord. To a question‚ he said a number of steps, such as conversion of oil-based plants to coal and installation of plants on waterways, are being taken to deal with the issue of circular debt, which currently stands at Rs 157 billion.


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