ISLAMABAD - The main Opposition party in the National Assembly on Tuesday forced the government to introduce another amendment to the 20th Amendment draft at eleventh hour and also took commitment from the government on reverting back the recent hike in prices of petroleum products, which was to be announced along with the passage of the amendment from the House.

Sources aware of the negotiations which had taken place between the government and Opposition benches by getting the National Assembly proceedings suspended, informed The Nation that Leader of Opposition Ch. Nisar Ali Khan wanted to have a final word on the draft before it was put to vote in the National Assembly and that was the reason he rose to his seat as soon as the Minister for Law Maula Bux Chandio tabled the draft before the House. Nisar pointed out that as the Sindh Assembly was without Leader of Opposition right now, so this lacuna should be removed before taking up the 20th Amendment.

Chandio requested the chair to suspend the proceedings of the House for 15 minutes but it took well two hours to bring the Treasury and Opposition members to hammer out differences and come up with the amendment in the 20th Amendment Bill draft which was also got approved from the House before making part of the bill as the same was already laid in the House.

From the government side Syed Khurshid Shah and Syed Naveed Qamar while Leader of Opposition Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Zahid Hamid and Ayaz Sadiq represented the Opposition in the discussion on the point that how to go about in formulation of the caretaker set up in Sindh where right now the slot of Leader of Opposition is vacant.

The sources said that it was decided the government would get the notification of the Leader of Opposition in next few days as the ruling PPP was also in government in Sindh.

On the issue of withdrawal of the increase in the petroleum products, which the government had committed to announce with the passage of the 20th Amendment in the National Assembly, the PPP leaders said that they should be given a couple of days, so that they work out slashing down of petroleum products prices in consultation with the concerned authorities.

They said that in this connection the Speaker National Assembly had proposed a joint committee comprising government and Opposition members to look into the matter.

On the assurance of the government side, the Leader of Opposition and his team did not press the matter but on the issue of establishment of neutral and independent caretaker set up on the pattern given for the establishment of such set up at Federal level the 20th Amendment Bill was further amended and another clause in it was introduced reducing the strength of Parliamentary Committee to six at provincial level whereas the strength of this committee at Federal level would be eight - four each from Treasury and Opposition sides.