LAHORE - The Wednesday’s sitting of the Punjab Assembly was marked by a heated debate on the current spate of inflation as the Opposition and the Treasury blamed each other for the present situation. The Opposition had requisitioned the session to raise its voice against the soaring prices of different commodities on the Assembly floor. In his speech, Opposition leader Hamza Shehbaz Sharif lambasted the government saying it had broken the 70 years record of inflation. The government, he said, hiked the prices of medicines for 12 times in the last three years. Likewise, he added, the prices of petroleum products were raised by Rs 26 in the last four months. Hamza claimed that inflation was showing a downward trend in the neighboring countries, India, and Bangladesh. Giving figures, he said that the inflation rate in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka stood at 4.3, 5.5 and 5.7 per cent respectively unlike Pakistan where it was 14.48 per cent. He told the House that the incumbent government had borrowed Rs 15,000 billion in the last three years, causing an increase of 140 per cent in the loans received by the previous governments. The people are bearing a burden of over Rs 13 billion per day, he added. Reacting to the assertions made by the Opposition leader, Provincial Minister for Industries and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal held the previous PML-N government responsible for the current inflation saying that the incumbent government was busy clearing the economic mess created in the last 30 years. The government, he said, was returning the heavy loans with interest received in the past. The minister also accused the previous government of the PML-N for setting up of the most expensive power plants which caused a hike in the prices of electricity. Talking about the soaring prices of sugar, the minister claimed that the Sharif family owned most of the sugar mills. This family is also running the business of dairy products and poultry, he added.
Students from IIOJK suspended from college for rejoicing over Pakistan’s victory in Pak-India match The Treasury and the Opposition also traded barbs in the form of sloganeering which continued throughout the sitting with intervals. The Opposition led by the PML-N also lodged a strong protest against inflation outside the Assembly. Carrying kitchen utensils, the women legislators raised slogans against the government. Also, the Assembly adopted the Civil Servants Punjab (Amendment) Bill with majority vote. Speaker Parvez Elhi adjourned the session sine die on completion of the agenda.