The National Assembly on Thursday echoed with emotional but alarming speeches on the burning issue of price hike, which the lawmakers said had overwhelmed the people already suffering from other crises. Taking part in an adjournment motion on the increase in the prices of items of daily use, they cautioned inflation could further lower the living standards, and warned against ignoring the issue. PML-N’s Raja Asad Khan said the poor deserved appreciation for managing to live in such difficult times. He suggested the government should use Rs 70 billion earmarked for the Benazir Income Support Programme to construct a dam that would at least provide low-cost electricity to the people.
Raza Hayat Hiraj of the PML-Q urged the heads of all political parties to identify the causes of price hike. He stressed on modernising agriculture sector with which 68 percent of country’s exports are directly linked. He said all other sectors would grow if agriculture sector flourished. Khalida Mansoor of the PML-N said agriculture was being overlooked despite the fact that Pakistan was an agricultural country. She said the government should rely on its resources to overcome the economic crisis. PPP’s Fauzia Wahab cited media reports and other facts and stated that economic situation was not as bad as had been pointed out in the House. She attributed price hike to terrorism.
MNA Salahuddin said economic disparity was causing terrorism in the country. PML-N’s Rana Tanvir Hussain said no productive steps were taken to control prices of essential commodities despite repeated calls over the last three years. He urged the government to cut its expenses, overcome tax evasion as well as leakages in the FBR and broaden the tax base. Later, Marvi Memon of the PML-Q said some people were talking about Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s alleged connections with Taliban. She criticised those who “are busy in spreading such news” and said if the allegations were true then why they did not bring evidences before the nation. She demanded bringing Dr Aafia back to country.
Ayaz Sadiq of the PML-N said the Standing Committee on Railways has prepared a detailed report on railways, which must be discussed in the House. PML-N leader Zahid Hamid criticised promulgation of National Accountability Ordinance and said one specific clause has been inserted in it. Abdul Qadir Baloch highlighted the Balochistan situation and said during the last 10 days some 20 people have been killed in ethnic target killing. Earlier, Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza appreciated the role of a Pakistani delegation during the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva for highlighting flood situation. In a statement on a point raised by Shahnaz Wazir Ali, the speaker said it was due to the personal interest of Senate chairman and the government that the international community has extended its support during this hour of trial. – Daily Times