Opp unites in protest against hike in prices
02 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Opposition parties on Tuesday submitted separate adjournment motions in both houses of parliament, seeking debate on government's decision to increase electricity and oil prices.
In their motions, Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Awami National Party and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) argued that the surge was equal to dropping a bomb on public and that it would lead to high inflation.
The resolutions called for immediate withdrawal of the price hike and a debate on this issue in parliament. Senator Raza Rabbani warned that his party would launch agitation if the government did not withdraw its decision. The PPP's adjournment motion was submitted by PPPP MNAs Naveed Qamar, Shazia Mari, Mehreen Bhutto, Imran Zafar Legari, Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Surraya Jatoi, Ayyaz Soomro, Nafeesa Shah, Azra Fazal, Pehchuho and Sattar Bachani.
Criticising the raise in petrol and electricity prices, the opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah urged the government to withdraw the notification of increase on immediate basis, saying the people were already reeling under inflation, unemployment and lawlessness. He pointed out that the PPP gave the subsidy of Rs 1,400 billion on electricity during its tenure and the present government should follow the trend and announce subsidy for providing relief to the people.
"The government should fulfil the commitments it made with the public in general elections campaigns and also act upon its manifesto. The state is a welfare entity, not a commercial one, so the government should look after the basic amenities of the people on priority," Khursheed Shah said. He also called upon the government to make public the payments made to the independent power producers (IPPs) for clearing the circular debt.
Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan strongly condemned the latest increase in the prices of petroleum products and electricity by the government of the PML-N as a "hike bomb".
Imran said the electricity price hike is unprecedented, with the middle-class consumer hit the hardest. In some cases the bills of middle-class consumers will more than double as a result of this "brutal" price hike, he said.
Meanwhile, Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid said on Tuesday the government was taking difficult decisions instead of printing currency notes, which would have resulted in inflation and price hike.
Rashid said the government would give Rs 135 billion subsidy to 9.2 million households consuming 200 electricity units or less. He said there was no change in the power tariff for domestic consumers using less than 200 units. However, partial subsidy on more than 200 units or higher power consumption had been withdrawn.
He said power rates of agricultural sector had been reduced and flat rates had been issued. The minister said the government was not charging a single penny over the cost of production, while 48 percent of consumers were getting power on less than the cost of production.
The minister said Rs 1 billion subsidy would be given to the consumers using more than 700 units.