ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government has showed its intent to bring legislation to specify the powers and prerogatives of the parliament and the executive so that no other institution could infringe on it.

“Judges should perform their duty and we (parliamentarians) should be allowed to do our job,” Climate Change Minister Mushahid Ullah told the Friday’s session of the National Assembly.

“People need to remain in their limits. The judiciary should do its work; otherwise, the parliament will have to take action,” the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader said while speaking on a point of order.

He said the incumbent government has been facing a plethora of challenges including sit-ins and restrictions [imposed by the judiciary] since assuming power.

The minister held that governance is the right of the executive and it should be left to it. “If you [judges] take the governance in your hands, the country will come to a halt,” he added.

“I ask the judges to do their own work otherwise we [parliamentarians] will legislate against it [judiciary],” he said. “It’s not your job to ensure whether people get water or not. Do your own work. Millions of cases are pending in courts,” he added.

Mushahid Ullah said that they respect the judiciary but everyone should avoid indulging in any controversy. “Parliament is an institution which has powers to make laws,” he said.

“Accountability is currently at its peak... It seems the accountability has only been left for the parliamentarians,” he said.

Talking about the disqualification of former prime minister, he said Nawaz Sharif was removed only for not taking salary from his son’s company. “Though Nawaz Sharif’s name was not in the Panama Papers, his whole family had to face the trial,” he added.

“People are still following Nawaz Sharif even after the recent decisions against him... What was the fault of Nawaz Sharif as he only loves the country,” he said, advising all the state institutions to remain within their constitutional limits.

In the middle of his speech, Speaker Ayaz Sadiq interrupted him to “take care of judges’ code of conduct”.

PML-N ‘deprived’ of Senate election

Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir said that although parliament is supreme, its major ruling party has been deprived of Senate elections.

“Why the PML-N is being treated in this way, as the party has recently been disallowed to participate in the Senate polls,” he said while referring to the Election Commission of Pakistan's decision, which asked the party candidates, who were nominated by Sharif as party head, to contest the Senate polls as independents.

Opp protest over POL prices hike

Opposition parties registered their strong protest against the recent hike in prices of petroleum products, demanding the government take back the price increase decision.

Pakistan People’s Party lawmaker Naveed Qamar asked the government to refrain from achieving Federal Board of Revenue’s revenue targets by increasing prices of petroleum products. “This government has failed to adjust the sales tax levied on petroleum products,” he said.

Another PPP MNA Nafisa Shah also sought an explanation from the government for taking the petrol price to the peak in the last three years.

Jamaat-e-Islami leader Tariq Ullah strongly criticised the government for putting an extra burden on the people and demanded that the government immediately take back its decision.

“The hike in the price of kerosene oil would encourage use of wood and forest cutting in remote areas,” he said.

Independent MNA Jamshed Dasti said that the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) has become an ‘unrestrained body’. “The Parliament should be informed about this undue burden on the people of the country,” he said.

Minister of State for Finance Rana Muhammad Afzal, responding to the concerns raised by the opposition members, said the prices were decided on the advice of the Ogra.

He argued that the government would have to give a subsidy on petroleum products if it ignored prices in the international market.

The minister said that petrol prices which were at their peak of Rs113 per litre dropped to Rs70 per litre and now the price has been set at Rs88 per litre. “The government has already been giving the subsidy on a number of items including electricity, fertiliser and agriculture,” he said.

Parliamentary Secretary Javed Ikhlas said that the government was giving Rs4.2 billion subsidy on diesel.

Drawing a comparison of petrol prices in Pakistan with regional countries, he said that the rate in India was Rs127 per litre, Rs91 in Sri Lanka and Rs117 in Bangladesh while the price for it in Pakistan is lowest - Rs88 per litre.

Recovery of loans

Minister of State for Finance Rana Afzal, responding to a call-attention notice, said that a list of loan defaulters has already been presented to the Upper House and it would also be presented to the National Assembly.

The chair asked the minister to present a detailed list to the House within a fortnight. He also referred the issue of loan defaulters to the committee concerned.



Parliament may act

against ‘nosy’ judiciary