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ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Friday that despite increasing the prices of petroleum products for the next 15 days, the government had to bear Rs45 billion under the head of sales tax and petroleum levy.

Responding to a calling attention notice moved by Naeem Kishwar Khan about the increase in prices of petroleum products, the Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar, said that the government determines the petroleum products’ prices based on international market trends.

He said that the country has insufficient domestic production of petroleum products, resulting in heavy reliance on imports, adding all-out efforts are being made to facilitate masses.

POL sales plunge 24% YoY amid high prices, economic distress

He noted a recent rise of about $4.50 per barrel in petroleum product prices, adding despite these challenges, the government is dedicated to maintaining affordable prices to ease the burden on the public.

He said that the recent increase, reflecting a global market rise of $3.82 to $4.30 per barrel, was implemented with the public’s welfare in consideration.

At the onset of the proceedings, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-backed Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) members protested over not initiating a debate on the presidential address, saying under the rules, no other agenda item could be taken before concluding a debate on the presidential address.

The Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Omar Ayub said that the absence of a motion of thanks on the presidential address in the agenda shows how serious the government is about the matters pertaining to parliament.

Barrister Gohar Ali Khan said that they wanted to take part in the debate on the presidential address despite the fact that Asif Ali Zardari has yet to quit as chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which makes his election questionable under the law.

However, the law minister reiterated the clarity provided by the Rules of the Procedures and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly 2007.

Expressing dismay over the opposition’s behaviour during the address of the president in the joint session of parliament, Tarar highlighted the need for decorum and respect for such occasions.

Earlier, the opposition leader also raised objections to the oath-taking ceremony of new members of the National Assembly (MNAs), saying the country was facing a constitutional and legal crisis, and it was imperative for the speaker to abide by the Constitution and law.

Ayub also condemned the killing of a 23 years old man who lost his life after being hit by a vehicle reportedly belonging to Punjab CM Maryam Nawaz in Narowal.

Speaking on a point of order, Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) lawmaker Abdul Qadir Patel emphasized the importance of orderly conduct, ensuring that each member is given a fair opportunity to speak without disruption or disregard for parliamentary decorum by the opposition.

Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) MNA Noor Alam Khan protested the oath-taking of female lawmaker Sadaf Ehsan, citing party disassociation.

The NA speaker clarified that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had issued a notification following which the oath was being taken.

Subsequently, Noor Alam Khan raised a quorum issue, which was found complete upon counting.

Speaking on a point of order, PPP’s Naveed Qamar lauded Sindh Police for foiling a terrorism attempt in Karachi, saying Sindh Police is doing a commendable job in combating crime throughout the province.

WALKOUT

The PPPP lawmakers led by Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari staged a token walkout from the house against the harsh remarks passed against President Asif Ali Zardari by PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan.

Barrister Gohar criticized President Zardari in yesterday’s joint session of the parliament labelling him as an “illegal and unconstitutional” president.

The PTI chairman also said they had no faith in the current president and prime minister, adding the “entire cabinet lacks legitimacy, which led us to interrupt the president’s speech”.

After staging a walkout, while talking to the media, Bilawal said that the PPPP exercised its democratic right of protest in the parliament to make the Speaker aware of their stance.

He also condemned the terrorist attack on a foreign vehicle in Karachi and expressed deep sorrow over the loss of two lives in the attack. He also expressed confidence that the perpetrators of this heinous crime would soon be brought to justice.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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