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Sindh Assembly asks Centre to cut petrol price to Rs40 a litre

Sindh Assembly asks Centre to cut petrol price to Rs40 a litre

KARACHI: Condemning the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government at the Centre for failing to pass on the benefit of record low oil prices in the international market to the people, the Sindh Assembly on Monday unanimously demanded that the federal government fix price of per litre petrol at Rs40.

On Jan 31, the federal government had slashed the per litre price of petrol by Rs5 for the month of February. Petrol is now available at Rs71.25 per litre.

The demand was made through a resolution jointly tabled by both treasury and opposition legislators at the Sindh Assembly session. The ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and all opposition parties in the house tabled their separate but identical resolutions.

The PPP, in its resolution, condemned the federal government and demanded it to reduce the petrol price to Rs40 per litre. The opposition’s resolution neither condemned the federal government nor demanded a specific reduction in the petrol prices. However, the PPP resolution was also signed by leaders of opposition parties.

In his brief speech before the resolution, Senior Sindh Minister Nisar Khuhro said that oil price in the international market came down from $120 per barrel to $35 per barrel, but in Pakistan its benefit was not passed on to people.

He said as the issue was quite fresh and a matter of public concern, he would be allowed to make a motion to table a joint resolution regarding reduction of petroleum prices.

Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izhar-ul-Hassan said that many members also wanted to move their resolutions on the subject and they should also be given the opportunity.

Although lawmakers from both sides of the aisle were keen to express their views on the matter, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, who was chairing the session, only allowed the movers — Mr Khuhro and Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Muhammad Hussain — to read out the contents of their resolutions due to paucity of time.

The resolution, which was passed unanimously, reads: “This Assembly condemns the callous and inept attitude of the federal government not to transfer the real benefit of decreasing international petroleum prices to its citizens.

“The house recommends to the provincial government to approach the federal government for fixing the prices of petrol at Rs40 per litre and proportionally reduced the prices of all other petroleum products.”

On the suggestion of Speaker Durrani the treasury and opposition agreed to defer rest of the business from the order of the day to Wednesday to exchange views with a visiting delegation of parliamentarians from other three provinces.

The speaker said that the rest of the business on the agenda, including an inconclusive discussion on the Thar situation as well as a resolution which the leader of the opposition wanted to table regarding a security threat by terrorists to schools and other educational institutions, would be taken up on Wednesday.

After the question-hour, the call-attention notice of MQM’s Kamran Akhtar regarding a threat to educational institutions, specially Karachi University, from banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, was taken up. Senior Minister Khuhro informed the house that emergency measures were being taken for a secure atmosphere at the KU.

He said that the university was given a Rs30 million grant to raise and repair damaged boundary walls. The government would provide an additional Rs20m million to strengthen the security of the university for which a security plan was being prepared, he added.

Saifuddin Khalid of the MQM informed the house on a point of order about the killing of a six-year-old girl, whose body was found in a wedding hall in Orangi Town on Sunday.

Calling upon the government to take immediate measures, he said dozens of people were being hired without any scrutiny in such places. He demanded immediate arrest of the culprits and severe punishment to them.

Home Minister Sohail Anwar Siyal informed the house that eight employees of the wedding hall had been picked up for questioning. He assured the house that whoever was found involved would be severely punished.

The house, which was called to order at 11.10am, was adjourned at 1.45pm to reassemble on Tuesday.

Published in Dawn, February 2nd, 2016

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