ISLAMABAD - With the consensus of all parliamentary parties, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday announced to withdraw the recent hike in the prices of petroleum (POL) products. On the demand of the people and political leadership of the country, I announce to restore the POL prices as of December 31, 2010. The decision is taken with the consensus of all the parliamentary parties. It was impossible if there was no consensus, the premier said while speaking during the National Assembly session. The government had raised fuel prices by as much as 9 per cent on the eve of New Year. Days later, the second-largest ruling coalition - Muttahida Qaumi Movement - cited the price hike as a reason for joining the opposition. The defection deprived the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party of a majority in the Parliament, plunging the country into political turmoil at a time of severe economic troubles and relentless militant attacks. The rollback was also one of the PML-Ns several demands presented to Prime Minister Gilani. PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif also wanted a 30 per cent cut in the government expenditure and the implementation of a series of court verdicts against the PPP members over corruption. In his speech, the prime minister said before announcing the withdrawal, he met with the parliamentary leaders of all the parties where Finance Minister Hafeez Shaikh and his team briefed them on the recent economic situation of the country. During the meeting, we reached a consensus that the recent hike in POL prices should be withdrawn and the new prices should be as of December 31, the prime minister told the Lower House. He informed the House that during the meeting, it was decided that a parliamentary committee comprising all the political parties members would be constituted that would not only devise a strategy to handle the influence of fluctuating prices of petroleum products in the international market but would also draw an economic road map for the country. Later, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Ch Nisar Ali Khan lauded the decision of the Prime Minister to withdraw the recent increase in the POL prices. It was a demand of the people of Pakistan and today the Prime Minister has bowed in submission of people which is a good tradition, Nisar said while adding that the act would give a message that the Parliament was serious in resolving the problems of the people. He said that another problem being faced by the people was the gas loadshedding and the government should also take steps in that direction. Commenting on the murder of the Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, Nisar said it was a gory incident but some federal ministers were terming it a political killing even when the inquiry report was still pending. He said that the ministers should avoid giving such statements when the society had already divided on this incident. If some body wants to get the slot of Governor Punjab then he should use any other pitch. Stop making statements like 'Ranjit Singh or 'Maula Jatt. Providing security to Taseer was the responsibility of Islamabad police as he was in the Capital. Inquiry committees are working on it and let them complete their investigation, he said. If someone found involved, action would be taken against him, Nisar said. He told that Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif was willing to attend the funeral prayer of Taseer but Senior Minister Raja Riaz urged him not to come to avert any untoward situation, as number of PPP workers were in anger after such statements. Chief of Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan thanked the Prime Minister and the parliamentary leaders of all the political parties for sitting with the PM on his advice to settle the issue of price hike in POL products. It is a bold step and also a proof that we can collectively solve the issues of people. Deputy Parliamentary Leader of MQM Haider Abbas Rizvi while congratulating the parliamentarians and people of Pakistan tanked the Prime Minister and termed it a bold step. It is difficult to undo his own decision but we are thankful to PM Gilani who reviewed his decision, Rizvi added. He also urged the PM to review the prices of LNG and CNG too. Talking about the briefing of the Finance Minister to the parliamentary leaders Rizvi said that Finance Minister told them that the government had a plan to give subsidy of Rs30 billion to people on electricity but till now it has given the subsidy of Rs156 billion. Maulana Ataur Rehman of JUI-F also welcomed the decision and congratulated the Parliament and people of Pakistan on the decision of Supreme Court of Pakistan ordering Ministry of Religious Affairs to pay back 700 riyals to each Haji. Talking about the murder of Punjab governor, he said his party had been requesting the govt not to touch the issue of amending blasphemy law but the govt and the governor did not pay heed to it and neglected their demand. The inquiry is still in way; however, if we take the statement of killer accurate the fault was of the governor, he added. He demanded of the govt to dissolve the committee formed to introduce amendments into the law and to withdraw the bill of Sherry Rehman. If the government touches such sensitive laws then such incidents can again happen. The govt is responsible not the young generation. However JUI-F respects the law and the religious parties never take law into their hands, Ataur Rehman said. Riaz Hussain Pirzada also congratulated the House and people for the withdrawal of hike in POL prices. Talking about the murder of Salmaan Taseer he said that it was not on the ground of religion. Such steps are taken after proper planning. There would be a network behind it, he added. Meanwhile, the House also offered fateha for the departed soul of Governor Salmaan Taseer. Earlier, the parliamentary leaders of political parties met with Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza to discuss the hike in POL prices. Finance Minister Abdul Hafiz Sheikh briefed the Parliamentary leaders on the economic situation of the country and recent hike of the POL products. The meeting decided to withdraw the increase in POL prices and to form a parliamentary committee to draw an economic road map for the country.