ISLAMABAD - The PML-N government yesterday faced strong criticism in the National Assembly for ‘poorly managing the country’s affairs’ as opposition lawmakers demanded immediate decrease in petroleum prices up to Rs 20 per litre.

Opposition members, citing example of famous drama serial ‘Mera Sultan’ on the king’s luxurious life, blamed the government for running the country like kings.

The house, with a thin presence from both sides of the aisle, only debated unsatisfactory decrease in petroleum products and the issue of privatisation of the national flag carrier (PIA).

As the house continued debate on a motion regarding the situation arising out of non-reduction of oil prices in accordance with the international market and implementation of the Pakistan Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1952, in PIA.

Taking part in the debate, Opposition Leader Khursheed Shah criticised the government for not providing relief to the masses in two and a half years. “The government has so far failed to provide any relief to the masses in its era,” said Shah, criticising it for not controlling terrorism in the country. “How this government will be able to control terrorism as no action was taken against the Lal Masjid cleric for supporting terrorism,” he said, accusing Interior Minister Ch Nisar for having a weak grip over Maulana Abdul Aziz.

He said the incumbent government had not decreased oil prices in accordance with the international market. “It is charging 37 percent sales tax on diesel, petrol and furnace oil, which is very high,” he viewed.

He also pointed out ignorance of the prime minister about the market rate of potato. “The PM is unaware of the market rate of potato,” he said, referring to Nawaz Sharif’s recent statement in which he said that potato was selling at Rs5 per kg.

MQM parliamentary leader Farooq Sattar blamed the government for running the country’s affairs like kings. “It is high time for the masses to come out from their houses for their rights and hold people’s assembly,” Sattar remarked.

He also demanded cut in prices of petroleum products immediately. “Diesel price needs to further go down by up to Rs 20 and kerosene oil up to Rs 10,” he asserted.

Earlier, Asad Umar from PTI also demanded the government to decrease price of kerosene by Rs 5 and diesel by Rs 20. He said there was a need to form a special committee on privatisation of PIA, strongly criticising the government for privatising public sector entities (PSEs). “This government should assign affairs of PSM to Hussain Nawaz (son of Nawaz Sharif) as he will make it a profitable organisation for having experience of managing such kind of affairs,” he said, adding the Pakistan Steel Mills had been closed for last many months.

The PTI lawmaker was of the view that the incumbent rulers were deliberately ruining the state institutions. “Revolutions take place when governments do not provide proper relief to masses,” he said. He also criticised the government for passing a bill in haste for PIA’s privatisation.

He came down hard on then government for increasing taxes on petroleum products. He pointed out that diesel was cheaper in 72 countries than that in Pakistan.

Taking part in the debate, PML-N lawmaker Capt (r) Safdar remarked Nawaz Sharif would become prime minister of the country for the fourth time.

The house witnessed a bit furore on his remarks as the opposition members remarked it would not be so easy to grab premiership for fourth time.

Responding to verbal attacks by the opposition, he said the incumbent government had been providing relief to the masses. “We (government) are not afraid of anyone,” he said.