SA denounces petrol, CNG, LNG price hikes

The Sindh Assembly denounced on Monday the increase in CNG and LNG prices by the federal government. As the house took up debate on the matter, the treasury benches and lawmakers of the Grand Democratic Alliance from the opposition aisle demanded of the Centre to withdraw its decision to increase prices of both the liquified natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) without delay.

Moving an adjournment motion against petrol, CNG and LNG price hikes, Pakistan Peoples Party, which leads the Sindh government, lawmaker Sadia Javed and GDA’s Nand Kumar Goklani requested Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani to defer all other agenda for the day.

“Prime minister Imran Khan is defying his own promises by increasing the prices of petrol and natural gas. In the past, he used to call the rulers and all successive governments corrupt whenever they increased the petrol prices,” said Javed. Now, low-income groups struggle to keep their stoves on and their families sleep on empty stomachs, she lamented.

How can those who have lost their jobs and other means of livelihood get petrol. I request the Sindh government to approach the relevant ministry in Islamabad to undo their decision of price hike in petrol, CNG and other natural gases.”

Goklani, who had moved a similar resolution last week, reiterated that Sindh contributes more than 70 per cent of all of the country’s gas production but is not given its due share to meet its demands. “As per law, the area from where gas is produced must be given priority to deal with energy issues, but unfortunately, this never happens,” said Goklani, adding that many factories have had to shut down due to the severe shortage of gas in the province.

“Instead of mitigating this issue, the federal government is importing the LNG from Qatar at exorbitant prices, which is wrong.”

PPP’s Farhat Seemen recalled that when PM Imran was in opposition he would demand resignations from the premier in office over inflation and devaluation of the Pakistani rupee. “Now, the dollar has touched a new high at Rs171 in the open market. Why doesn’t he tender resignation,” she asked.

Meanwhile, Rashid Khilji of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, which has been a coalition partner of the PTI-led federal government since 2018, linked inflation and petrol price hike to the international market. “This is not the first time, the same thing also happened under PPP and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) governments too,” he said, justifying the government decisions.

During the discussion, PPP’s Imdad Pitafi’s speech caused an uproar in the house as he referred to the PTI and its coalition partners as “selected”. He dubbed the PTI government incompetent and claimed that it would be sent packing if the MQM-P and GDA part ways with it.

Pitafi’s comments prompted a heated argument between him and GDA’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi, who objected to the word “selected”. No government in Pakistan comes to power without the support of certain quarters, said Jatoi. “Even [PPP leader] Benazir Bhutto was selected when she became the prime minister in 1988.”

Earlier, as the session began, Goklani moved a call attention motion on the desecration of 13 graves by the grandson of GM Syed, Sindhi nationalist who founded Jeay Sindh Mahaz. “What action has the government taken against the man who destroyed the graves and relocated the same to another cemetery?” asked Goklani.

At this, Sindh Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla assured the house that action would be taken against those involved in the incident.

A privilege motion was also moved by MQM-P’s Muhammad Hussain against the Sindh government not allowing private member bills in the house. Hussain’s motion was dismissed after Chawla opposed it.

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