ISLAMABAD - Feeling the heat from massive public demonstrations against gas loadshedding and increase in the prices of CNG and POL products, Opposition and treasury benches on Monday separately walked out of the National Assembly session against the government’s indifference on the issue.

The house saw back-to-back walkout of PML-N and MQM, a coalition partner in the PPP-led government, over the apathy of the government to resolve the public issues. The house also witnessed severe criticism of two PPP legislators on rising corruption as the members said immediate measures were required to get rid of this menace.

Before the walkout, PML-N legislator Barjees Tahir remarked: “If the incumbent government has failed to deliver, why they are not announcing fresh elections then, as people are living in a restive and uncertain situation.“

PML-N’s Mehtab Abbasi said that if this government cannot not deliver, there was no harm in demanding fresh polls. “Today’s protests are testimony of the fact that people have lost their patience now… Are we waiting for the moment when perturbed public will forcibly enter the parliament or turn more violent?” he observed. He also raised concern over absence of Petroleum Minister Dr Asim. He questioned that how 500 CNG stations were provided permit.

PML-N MNA Malik Abrar said that if the government had no policy to address the issue, they should accept their failure as mere forming of a committee was not a solution to the issue. And “if you don’t have solution to the issues, you should resign”, he added. Tehmina Doultana said: “Its pity that there is no electricity and gas in the country... situation of Pakistan Railways (PR), PIA and Steel Mills is before the people.“

Raising their voice against the non-serious attitude of their own coalition government, MQM lawmakers, before staging walkout, said that government was showing disinterest in the serious issue of the masses. MQM’s Asif Hasnain asked the chair to take call-attention notice on the increase of up to 14 per cent in the CNG prices.

But as they staged walkout, MQM members were not available for raising their questions over the notice. Responding to the notice, PPP chief whip and Minister for Religious Affairs Khursheed Shah said there was 45 percent difference between gas and petrol prices which required to be bridged, but government raised prices by only up to 14 percent.

Khursheed Shah said that they had to increase gas prices to bring gas prices at par with petrol prices as there was 2,000 cubic feet gas shortage.