NA: (Opposition walks out over PIA’s privatisation, new taxes)

ISLAMABAD: The opposition on Tuesday staged a walkout from the National Assembly against privatisation of flag-bearer Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and imposition of new taxes.

Opposition parties held a meeting under opposition leader Syed Khursheed Shah and decided their strategy for walkout from the house against the privatisation of the flag-carrier airline.

The meeting was attended by PTI’s leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, MQM’s Iqbal Mohammed Ali, Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed and Sahibzada Tariqullah from the Jamaat-e-Islami.

The opposition leader declared the PIA Ordinance a lollipop while Qureshi said that about Rs 40 billion have been levied in terms of taxes after revenue collection failed.

Shah said that the nation was being misrepresented. He said that when the government did not have funds, then why made such big claims and from where Rs 50 billion were arranged for the metro bus projects.

He said that the prime minister can resolve issues after coming to the house. He also criticised Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for not attending the assembly proceedings. He said that the opposition would not allow imposing new taxes of Rs 40 billion.

A week earlier, the federal government had imposed Rs 40 billion more taxes by imposing five to 10 percent regulatory duty on import of 61 items, increasing duty by five percent on another 289 items and levying one percent additional customs duty on thousands of other items.

Outside the Parliament House, Khurshid Shah told reporters that the opposition would not allow the government to privatise PIA and other state-run institutions.

He said issuing one ordinance after another was inappropriate and the practice must stop now. Those who staged walkout from the National Assembly included members of the Pakistan People’s Party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Jamaat-e-Islami.