LAHORE - The Opposition on Monday lodged strong protest both inside and outside the Punjab Assembly over hike in petroleum prices and also staged a token walkout from the House.
As the session started, Opposition Leader Mahmoodur Rashid stood up on a point of order to register protest.
Expressing concern over enhanced prices of petroleum products, Rashid said government’s decision would add to the miseries of the masses as it would be followed by a storm of inflation. Terming it a cruel act on govt’s part, the Opposition leader called for reversal of the prices.
He also wanted to move a resolution in the House demanding of the Federal government to take back the decision. But Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal did not allow him to do so, stating that Law Minister was not present in the House and he could not let such a resolution to be moved without seeking reply from the government.
The Speaker asked the Opposition leader to defer the matter till arrival of the Law Minister, but Mahmood did not budge from his stance and insisted he would move the resolution right now.
Upon flat refusal by the Chair, the joint Opposition led by Rashid staged a token walk-out from the Assembly to protest against Speaker’s attitude.
The Opposition members later gathered outside the Assembly to continue the protest. They returned to the House after 15 minutes to participate in the Question Hour.
During later part of the proceedings, PPP’s Faiza Malik, on a point of order, drew government’s attention towards the issuance of blue passports to the Punjab Assembly members, a practice followed during the last tenure of PPP government. Citing a resolution earlier passed by the previous Punjab Assembly impressing upon the Federal government to issue diplomatic passports to the Assembly members, she told the House that PPP government had allowed issuance of such passports to the members.
Faiza wanted to know if a new resolution on the subject was needed as most of the passports held by the members have now expired.
Since Law Minister was absent from the House, Speaker deferred the matter till the next session.
The Assembly also debated the issue of new support price for the coming wheat crop. The members called for reduction in prices of agriculture outputs including seeds and fertilisers besides enhancing the support price.
On completion of the agenda, the Speaker prorogued the session sine die.