Muttahida’s criticism over CNG price hike rings alarm bells for PTI govt

Published October 8, 2018
MQM-P leaders address a presser alongside President Arif Alvi and other PTI members. — Photo/File
MQM-P leaders address a presser alongside President Arif Alvi and other PTI members. — Photo/File

KARACHI: Alarms bells have started to ring for the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government when its coalition partner, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, on Sunday took strong exception to what it called an unprecedented hike of CNG prices — an increase of Rs22 per kilogram — and asked the federal government to stop taking anti-people measures only to please the International Monetary Fund.

The criticism came a day after a senior MQM-P leader told a gathering held in connection with the NA-243 by-elections that his party — which has been given two federal ministries in return for its support to the PTI government — would think whether to stay in the government or not if the ruling party continued to neglect urban Sindh and Karachi.

The Imran Khan-led government lacked simple majority in the National Assembly and after forging a coalition with half a dozen parties, including the MQM-P which has seven MNAs, it managed to form its government at the Centre.

In a statement issued on Sunday, lawmakers belonging to the MQM-P said that the CNG price had reached Rs103 or Rs104 per kilogram after an increase of Rs22 per kg in Sindh, including Karachi. The CNG had now become costlier than petrol, they added.

JI chief Siraj-ul-Haq warns PTI against raising petrol, electricity prices

“Such a shocking increase has never been made by any previous government. This action is against the thinking of the people who wished for change,” they said.

The lawmakers said that as per an official policy the price of CNG should have been 30 per cent less than the price of petrol, but the PTI government also negated that policy.

“The government should avoid taking measures affecting the people only to please the IMF,” they said, demanding that the government decision be reversed forthwith.

Unlike the past when the party was controlled from London by founder Altaf Hussain, the MQM-P has not given any deadline or threat to leave the coalition government.

But only on Saturday, its senior leader Amir Khan said that the people could not be provided relief by selling vehicles and buffalos.

“We are waiting to see the change [as promised by the government] in the first 100 days...We are also waiting for the implementation of an agreement that we made with the prime minister,” he said. “We will think about staying in government if urban Sindh and Karachi are neglected.”

JI slams PTI govt for gas, electricity tariff rise

Criticising the PTI government for an unprecedented increase in gas and CNG prices, Jamaat-i-Islami chief Senator Siraj-ul-Haq said that the prices of petrol and electricity were likely to be increased, bringing a storm of price hike for the people.

He said that soon the people would say that the PTI government had brought along the price hike.

He further said that the tall claims of the PTI government to bring “change” just remained on papers and no practical steps were yet taken in that regard.

Speaking at a press conference here, the JI chief said that the missing persons’ cases also continued in ‘Naya Pakistan’ as social worker Ijazullah had been missing for the last many days.

Criticising the Sindh government, he said that the institutions in Sindh were in grip of worst corruption as a big share of the provincial budget was being wasted due to corruption.

Accompanied by Secretary General Liaquat Baloch, JI Karachi chief Hafiz Naeem-ur-Rehman, Sen Haq said that the provincial government was not taking any step to resolve the burning issues being faced by residents of the metropolis.

Answering a question, the JI chief said that the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal was not taking part in the by-polls on two National Assembly and as many provincial assembly seats in Karachi later this month.

Published in Dawn, October 8th, 2018

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