Sherry Rehman leads Senate opposition’s walk out over petrol price hike
LAHORE: After slamming the government for the recent increase in prices of petroleum products, Vice President Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Sherry Rehman on Friday led a walk out of the opposition members in Senate.
While addressing the Senate before the walk out, Rehman said, “Once again Tabahi Sarkar has dropped a petrol bomb in times of extreme and acute inflation. Petrol prices now stand at Rs127.3 per litre. They had already increased it by Rs 5 per litre on September 15 but now the prices are up again.”
She said that the PTI had the unique reputation of raising fuel prices eight times in one year, leaving most of the country unable to function with such drastic strikes on their disposable incomes.
“The prices of kerosene oil and light diesel oil (LDO) have also been increased by Rs7.05 and Rs8.82 per litre, respectively. Now petrol will be sold at Rs127.30 per litre, high speed diesel at Rs122.04 per litre, kerosene oil at Rs99.31 and light diesel oil at Rs99.51 per litre. This is regressive taxation that is crippling the lives of the common women and men, burdening them with the state’s expenditures and inability to tax the rich,” she added.
Comparing today’s situation with the PPP government’s performance, the veteran politician said: “During our government in 2013, international oil prices were extremely high due to the global financial crisis, yet the price at home was not allowed to surge anywhere close to the tsunami of petroleum prices it has become now. What kind of explanation is this for increases eight times in one year? Have we become hostage to international prices that have gone up? These price shocks are unsustainable for the people of Pakistan. Only in the last 15 days the government has increased Rs9 per litre and Rs32 per litre in last three years”.
Rehman also took a dig at the agreements between the government and International Monetary Fund (IMF) by saying that the “PTIMF” was the opposite of what it promised.
“It does exactly what the IMF says, borrows like no government before and tells people that the good days are here. Other governments have also run IMF programmes but our government was answerable to people and negotiated way better terms,” she claimed.
Discussing the rupee devaluation in her speech, she said, “On September 30, rupee touched a record low of 172.50 against dollar. There has been an exponential devaluation of the rupee since the PTI government took over.”
She said in the last three years rupee was devalued by 41.5% and since May the following year it had been devalued by 10.7%. In a rather shocking revelation, Fitch, American credit rating agency, had forecasted that the rupee will weaken to 180 by 2022, she added.
The parliamentary leader of the PPP concluded by saying that the tsunami of change had become the tsunami of inflation and petrol bombs. “Pakistan’s economy is collapsing as poverty and food inflation are on the rise. We are losing international footing by the day,” she said.
Senator Rehman along with other members of the opposition then walked out in protest as the finance minister was not present in the House despite the opposition specifically seeking his presence.
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