Pakistani govt ready for debate debate on increase in prices of petroleum products

India's fuel demand dipped 45.8 per cent in April from a year earlier, as a nationwide lockdown and travel curbs to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus eroded economic activity. PHOTO: REUTERS. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

ISLAMABAD, Jul 17, 2020, Pakistan Today. Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Thursday said that the government was ready for a debate on increase in prices of petroleum products but the matter should not be taken up through an adjournment motion now, as the issue was being heard by the Lahore High Court (LHC), Pakistan Today reported.

Speaking in the National Assembly (NA) while opposing an adjournment motion moved by legislator Naveed Qamar on increase in petroleum prices, he said petroleum development levy was included in the finance bill approved by the lower house and its rate had remained flat at a level.

“When we came to power, our system was not able to transmit 18,000 megawatts of power but now during the summer season, it is capable enough to transmit 23,000 megawatts of power,” he said, adding that this was made possible due to the introduction of the latest technology.

He said that issues of low voltages in congested areas are also being addressed. He added that efforts have been accelerated to check power pilferage. He also said there is a plan to enhance power generation to 100,000 megawatts by 2040 by primarily exploiting the indigenous resources including hydel, coal and renewables.

He further said that as the matter of prices of petroleum products was being heard in the LHC, the issue was subjudice so it should not be taken up for debate in the House.

Qamar said that rules of the house allowed discussion on the matter such as prices of petroleum product, so members should debate the issue which concerned every Pakistani citizen.

As the opposition members did not press the matter, further debate could not be held on the motion.

Qamar said that this was the first adjournment motion taken up in two years of proceedings of the NA.

He said that he had also moved an adjournment motion on the locust swarms arriving from the horn of Africa as these posed grave danger to the agriculture of Pakistan.

While speaking on different points of order, lawmakers Alamgir Khan, Dr Nafeesa Shah and Murtaza Javed Abbasi raised the issues of shortage of water and electricity in Karachi and the alleged fake licences of pilots of Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

MNAs Sanaullah Mastikhel, Kamaluddin, Moeen Wattoo and others while taking part in debate in the House, suggested measures for improvement of agriculture and livestock sectors and irrigation system.

They stressed upon the building of large and small dams and enhanced research facilities for improving seeds and crops.

They urged for steps to treat diseases in livestock so meat exports could be increased to countries like China which was a huge meat market.

Parliamentary Secretary for Interior Shaukat Ali told the house during question hour that Pakistan is fully facilitating the Sikh pilgrims from India to visit Kartarpur to perform their religious rituals. He said that there may be reduction in the number of Sikh yatrees from India due to Covid-19 but there is no obstacle from Pakistani side in their way to visit their revered site.

The parliamentary secretary said the Sikh pilgrims are allowed to visit Kartarpur without visa; however, they are bound to bring their valid Indian passport for immigration clearance as per the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Pakistan and India. Ali said the list of Sikh pilgrims is provided by the Indian authorities 10 days in advance which is shared with the relevant institutions for security and verification. Upon their approval, the Sikh pilgrims are allowed to visit Kartarpur.

The parliamentary secretary said that legislation is on the cards to curb human trafficking. He said that reforms are also being brought in the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to curb such crimes.

The parliamentary secretary for interior said the overall law and order situation has improved in the country under the present government. As regards the federal capital, he said the crime rate has reduced by 29 per cent over the last two years.

He said that Islamabad Safe City Project has fully been made functional. He also said that when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) came to power, only 300 out of 2,000 cameras were operational under this project. He added that 1,950 cameras have now been made operational.

At the outset, the house offered Fateha for doctors and paramedical staff who died of Covid-19 and three soldiers martyred recently in Balochistan.

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