Opposition blasts Punjab government for high prices


LAHORE – The Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q), the main opposition party in the Punjab Assembly (PA), criticised the Punjab government for increasing inflation in the province saying that it has become a fashion to blame former regimes for justifying poor governance and mismanagement. Opposition members of the provincial assembly (MPA) asked the treasury benches what they had done for the masses since the last years except for blaming the previous government for all “ills” adding that previous rulers did not deprive the masses of electricity and gas. They claimed that prices of essential commodities were stable during the pervious provincial government’s rule.
The opposition MPAs were participating in general discussion on increase in prices of essential commodities during the 22nd PA session held with Acting Speaker Rana Mashood in the chair. Opposition MPA Mohsin Khan Leghari opening the discussion from the opposition benches and gave a tough time to the treasury members throughout the session. He said that it seems that the Punjab government has accepted its failure in controlling prices of essential commodities. Leghari said that the Punjab government should realise that price-hike is not because of the energy crises only and a 55 percent increase in money circulation was one of the main factors responsible for the situation.
He said that this is job of the Punjab government to govern the province but it seems that the treasury members are not serious in their work. Leghari, who was speaking on behalf of Punjab Opposition Leader Chaudhry Zaheeruddin, seemed confident and used every measure for pushing the Punjab government to the wall. Talking about inflation and money circulation, he said that it seems that the Punjab government is not serious in making any comprehensive policy to control the situation. There is no mechanism to check prices and the Punjab government should take some bold decisions instead of blaming others, the PML-Q MPA said.
He said that price-hike also relates to purchasing power of citizens, as if one has money with him, nothing is expensive but income of citizens has not increased according to hike in prices of essential commodities. Leghari said that in 1999, the country was producing more electricity compared to now. He said that when the industrial sector touched its peak in the past, the then government had planned for generation of energy but the present Punjab government was just busy in putting its plagues on projects initiated by the previous Punjab government. “The present regime has failed to ensure any planning that has caused a horrible situation in the province”, the MPA said. Leghari, giving a comparison, informed the House that in 2008, price of petrol in the international market was US 96 per barrel and presently the price is US 91.27. He said that if one links inflation with fuel prices then oil prices have decreased while prices of commodities have increased, exposing mismanagement and poor governance of the Punjab government.
It seems that the Punjab government has surrendered to mafias dealing in sugar, flour, edible oils, pulses and vegetables, he said. “Once I asked my wife to cook pulses or grains instead of meat on which she said that even these commodities are not cheap now”, he said while sharing his personal experience on floor of the House. Punjab Food Parliamentary Secretary Saeed Mughal, in his opening speech, badly failed to inform the House about the Punjab government’s policy, as he just focused on increase in productivity and blamed the energy crises for the on-going hike in prices of essential commodities.
He said that the energy crises had badly affected the industrial sector, which is almost at verge of collapse. Mughal, while comparing Pakistan to other countries, said that Pakistan’s name did not fall in list of top 40 countries that are best in productivity. The parliamentary secretary’s poor performance gave enough room to the opposition to blast the Punjab government, as Mughal could not identify one achievement of the provincial administration since the last three years.