The National Assembly on Friday witnessed heated debate on inflation and hike in food, electricity and gas prices. The opposition benches raised serious concerns over public issues while the treasury kept on justifying their position during the session. As the session resumed, prayers were offered for the departed souls of Senator Mushahidullah Khan, legendary mountaineer Ali Sadpara and the security personnel martyred in recent acts of terrorism. Out of 15 items put for debate in the Lower House, only two could be taken up. Qaiser Sheikh of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) highlighted in a motion that the devaluation of currency has led to increase in the prices of essential commodities, including the petroleum products He said indirect taxes such as petroleum levy are affecting the poor segments of the society. He asked the government to promote small and medium enterprises as per its commitment. Adding to the point raised by his colleague, former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of the PPP said no action has been taken by the government to check the prices of essential items. He said increase in the prices of wheat, sugar and cotton has not benefited the farmers but the middlemen and the hoarders. While highlighting his party’s regime from 2008 to 2013, the former prime minister said that during that time loans from different international agencies were also taken but not in the way the incumbent government is doing. “It’s highly shocking that the current circular debt has reached Rs 3 trillion which is ultimately affecting the common people,” he regretted, adding that electricity prices are now Rs 30 per unit which was hardly Rs 10 per unit during the PPP regime. “At that time, Imran Khan had torn electricity bills while standing on his container. Will he do so now as the electricity prices are many times higher as compared to our time?” he wondered. The former prime minister said that the previous government gave subsidy on electricity prices but ‘tabdeeli sarkar’ has abolished it. Addressing the speaker in an emotional tone, he said, “You are responsible to answer the House on these public issues.” During Ashraf’s speech, the speaker kept asking him to sit down, adding that relevant members from treasury benches will respond to his concerns. However, he continued his speech, prompting the speaker to turn off his mic. When the speaker turned the mic on, Ashraf continued, “Don’t worry, you are also a speaker of us, you have to listen to our voice as well.” In the meantime, PML-N’s Ahsan Iqbal tried to speak but the speaker did not allow him. The speaker asked Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan to respond to concerns raised by the PPP. On which, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Ahsan Iqbal went to the speaker roaster and requested him to give them a chance for speech. However, the speaker did not pay no heed to them. Angry over the matter, opposition members gathered around the speaker’s dais and started ruckus which made power minister’s speech inaudible. In his speech, Ahsan Iqbal criticized the government and also expressed serious concerns over the ‘sinking economy’ of the country. In his response, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan said the government is pursuing pro-businessmen policies which are also being appreciated by the business community. He claimed that the large-scale manufacturing is now witnessing growth of 14.5%. “The previous government set up expensive power plants, ignoring the indigenous sources of energy. We are focusing to exploit the potential of renewable energy to produce cheap electricity,” he added. The minister revealed that the agreement signed with the IPPs will help save 800 billion rupees. He said the government is clearing the mess left by the previous regimes. After almost two hours of proceedings, the speaker announced adjournment of the house to meet up again on Monday at 4pm.