MPAs hailing from PTI and PML-Q on Thursday staged a protest at the stairs of Punjab Assembly against the increase in petroleum prices.
The protest was led by the parliamentary leader of PTI Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed while the opposition leader Sibtain Khan and deputy opposition leaders Mian Aslam Iqbal and Raja Basharat and a large number of lawmakers also participated in it. They were chanting slogans against the recent increase in the petroleum prices. The MPAs were also carrying placards inscribed with slogans against the government and rampant inflation.
Earlier, the session started after the delay of almost three hours from its scheduled time, with Speaker Ch Parvez Elahi in the chair. The treasury benches were wearing a deserted look as there was no MPA there. The official gallery designated for the bureaucracy was also empty as the government did not own the session. A day before, the finance minister presented the budget at a session held at Aiwan-e-Iqbal while Ch Parvez Elahi chaired a parallel session in Punjab Assembly.
Two parallel sessions of the assembly are being held these days. Elahi suspended the routine agenda as he said that the ministers were not present in the house. The session will continue for four to five days and there will be a general debate on the law and order situation and inflation in the house, he said. A resolution was moved in the house by PTI MPA Waseem Badozai condemning the increase in petroleum prices. Speaking on the occasion, deputy opposition leader Raja Basharat said that unconstitutional events are once again taking place in Punjab.
They started with the election of Punjab chief minister when police entered the house and are continuing, Basharat said, adding that the government did not respect democratic norms. Leader of the opposition Sibtain Khan said that “illegal government of Punjab” presented an unconstitutional budget at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. “We’ll approach the Lahore High Court against this decision that has crippled the powers of assembly. They presented the budget at another place to avoid the criticism of the opposition. There was no need to hold the session at Aiwan-e-Iqbal in the presence of a constitutional institution,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Opposition Leader Mian Aslam Iqbal said that an attempt was made to demolish the constitutional institution “and we are going to the court against it”. The session was later adjourned to meet again on Monday afternoon. Earlier, senior lawmakers of PTI called on Elahi. They included Mian Mehmood-ur-Rasheed, Mian Aslam Iqbal, Sibtain Khan, Mohsin Laghari, Raja Bashrat, Momina Waheed, and Ch Zaheer.
Talking to them, Elahi said that the “experienced government” is ruining the economy as well as killing people through inflation. “The elder Sharif is destroying the sanctity of institutions in the Centre while the younger one is doing the same in Punjab. The elder Sharif appointed the opposition leader of his own choice in the National Assembly while the younger one went to the extent of having his own assembly,” Elahi said.