Opposition takes govt to task over oil price hike
02 September, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The opposition parties on Sunday took strong exception to the raise in the prices of petroleum products and vowed to lodge a protest in parliament and outside it against what they said was an anti-people act.
The PML-N government jacked up the prices of various petroleum products substantially on Saturday. It was the third increase in the prices in the last three months since the new government took over the helm of affairs of the country.
The criticism came from all the opposition parties, including the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Awami National Party. Criticising the government's decision, opposition leader Syed Khrusheed Shah asked what has happened to the promise made by the PML-N that it would turn around the economy and provide relief to the masses if voted to power.
He said that the increase in the prices of petroleum products has burdened the poor masses and would make it hard for them to meet their basic needs. PTI Chairman Imran Khan, in a statement, called the raise in the POL prices a shameful action against the poor masses.
"Repeated price hikes continue to burden the ordinary citizens while most of the rich continue to evade their responsibility of paying their taxes. The government has failed or deliberately chosen not to widen the direct tax net; and instead has chosen to target the salaried and poor of the land by placing a spiralling burden of indirect taxes on them," Imran said.
He said that the PTI would devise a strategy to protest such "anti-people" price hikes both in parliament and outside it. "It is unacceptable to have the poor bear the burden of the state expenses while the rich are kept outside the tax ambit," Imran noted.
Meanwhile, ANP's Information Secretary Senator Zahid Khan also condemned the move and said that it would break the back of the common man. Zahid said that his party would submit an adjournment motion in the Senate on Monday (today) against what he said was an anti-people step of the present government.
Criticism over petroleum prices uncalled for: Rashid
Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage Pervaiz Rashid on Sunday said criticism of increase in petroleum prices was totally uncalled for, and added that petrol cannot be sold to consumers at a rate lower than the purchasing price.
He said if the critics had a formula under which the fuel could be sold to the consumers at a rate lower than the purchase price, they should share it with the government which would implement it. The minister said changes in petroleum prices were linked with the international market and prices within the country had to be adjusted in accordance with the changes of prices at the international level.
Rashid said that if the governments in the past had focused on strengthening the economy, purchasing power of the people would have been much higher today. He expressed the hope that with the implementation of the economic projects of the present government, purchasing power of the people would be increased and prices would stabilise.