Senators on the treasury and opposition benches on Wednesday criticised the hike in petroleum prices.

The upper house of the parliament met with Sadiq Sanjrani in the chair.

Leader of the Opposition Shahzad Waseem said that since the incumbent government came into power, they have been bombarding people with petrol bombs.

He said that the people are being oppressed and slammed the government for silencing dissent.

“Fair trial is the right of every Pakistani,” he said.

“If there is scope for physical remand in the law, does it mean torture?” he asked and demanded a fair trial for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Shahbaz Gill.

He advised the government to refrain from distributing “certificates of treason” and to avoid running away from elections.

Federal Minister for Law and Justice Azam Nazeer Tarar said that the decision to increase petroleum prices was the “most painful”.

He said that former prime minster Imran Khan agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that they would not give any subsidy on petrol.

He said that the state was bound to observe the agreement and they hiked the petroleum prices with a heavy heart.

“We have come to serve the people,” he remarked.

Senator Shibli Faraz, while responding to a point pertaining to the ordinance amending the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016, said that the bill itself was introduced by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).

Bahramand Khan Tangi severely criticised the PTI, prompting backlash from the former ruling party, and leading to the chairman expunging some of his words.

Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) Mushtaq Ahmad, condemning the increase in petroleum prices, termed it anti-people and said it amounted to economic terrorism as it placed an unbearable burden on the public.

“It has been proved that the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement) government is a failed government,” he said, pointing out the correlation between petroleum prices and inflation.

PML-N’s Irfanul Haque Siddiqui said that if the petroleum prices increase today, the effects are the same as the ones seen during the previous government’s era. He pointed out how it leads to increasing poverty.

“We cannot defend it, it was sad even in the previous regime, it is sad even today,” he said. “We do not support this increase and there should be some way out.”

Mohsin Aziz said that the poor have been destroyed and the industries have been closed. “Fix the procedure,” he demanded.

Sadia Abbasi said that the recent hike in petroleum prices should be debated and polled in the parliament. She mentioned that Nawaz Sharif rejected the hike and so did Asif Ali Zardari.

PTI’s Faisal Javed Khan said that the prices of petroleum products should be reduced.

“The entire nation has rejected this imported government,” he said. “Today, inflation and unemployment have increased; this government must go; transparent elections should be held in the country.”

Faisal said that while Gill should not have given the statement as such kinds of statements cannot be accepted but a legal case should have been filed.

“A fair trial should be done; we condemn the torture done to Shahbaz Gill,” he said.

Later during the proceedings, when the deputy chairman allowed PML-N’s Pir Sabir Shah to speak, a senator from the opposition pointed out the quorum, prompting him to adjourn the meeting till Thursday.

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