LAHORE - PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif Saturday reiterated his demand for the formation of a parliamentary commission to investigate rigging in the July 25 elections, warning the Opposition would not let the legislature’s proceedings move ahead unless the demand was met.

Addressing a news conference here, he said Prime Minister Imran Khan had told him on August 17 that he would announce the constitution of the commission, but the commitment had not been honoured even after three weeks. “I hope this will also not be a case of U-turn,” said Shehbaz who is also Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.

He made it clear the Opposition alliance was intact and it would not let the government escape the demand of setting up the commission. Former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and ex-interior minister Ahsan Iqbal were also present.

Expressing disappointment over the three-week performance of the PTI-led coalition, the PML-N chief said the increase in the gas, power tariff and fertilizer prices would increase the production cost of exportable goods. “This is an anti-people decision,” he added.

He explained the PML-N government had reduced electricity rates by Rs 3 per unit to make the production cost of exportable goods competitive. Now the raise of Rs 2 per unit, in practical terms, would mean an increase of Rs 5 per unit. The step would adversely affect the domestic as well as industrial consumers, he contended. He was of the opinion that now exports would get a serious blow.

He recalled the PML-N government had given a subsidy of billions of rupees to keep fertilizer prices low to keep prices of agricultural commodities under control. He said now increase in prices of agricultural commodities would lead to overall price hike. “We’ll raise voice for farmers and stop the government from harming them.”

Referring to the prime minister’s call for the people and overseas Pakistanis to donate funds for dams, Shehbaz Sharif pointed out the PML-N government had already done a good homework for the purpose. It had spent Rs 122 billion to acquire lands for Bhasha Dam. In his opinion, the government should not have raised funds for power generation as investors could be asked to offer bids. Investors, he said, would happily come forward to generate 4000MW electricity. He further alleged the PTI government had brought back loadshedding of some eight hours in urban and up to 12 hours in rural areas despite the fact that the PML-N government had eliminated it before it had completed its mandated term on May 31.

Criticising the PTI government’s decision to discontinue his laptop scheme, Shehbaz Sharif said computers were provided only to position holders and talented students. He also opposed the closure of Daanish schools.

Shehbaz Sharif said the development achieved by the PML-N government after untiring efforts of five years had been reversed by the PTI government only in 20 days.