Friday Jun 26, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday approved a summary of recommendation to hike up the prices of petroleum products "in view of the rising oil prices trend in the global market", with a notification issued to announce the new rates.
The notification stated that the new petrol prices would come into effect immediately.
Petrol prices, according to the recommendation, were to be bumped up Rs25.58 per litre. Similarly, the per-litre prices of high-speed diesel (HSD), kerosene oil, and light diesel were recommended to be increased Rs21.31, Rs23.50, and Rs17.84, respectively.
The new per-litre prices of petrol, HSD, kerosene oil, and light diesel, therefore, would respectively be Rs100.10, Rs101.46, Rs59.06, and Rs55.98.
The revised-up prices are to come into effect at 12am tonight (0000 hours, Saturday).
As soon as news of the price hike broke, citizens in Islamabad stormed to get their petrol tanks filled, creating a huge rush on petrol pumps.
Several filling stations also put up signs of "technical fault", while some shut down their power and closed the petrol units.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, condemning the increase, termed it as “anti-poor”.
“Imran Khan cannot prop up a plunging economy by looting money from the people’s pockets,” Bilawal said.
Bilawal said that the government had allowed the hoarding of petrol by slashing rates and now it is benefiting the petrol mafia by increasing prices.
“The selected prime minister has no realisation of the woes of the common man,” he said.
Bilawal said that the prices of other commodities had not decreased with the slashing in the rates of fuel, but they will certainly see an increase due to a surge in fuel prices.
PML-N’s Senator Asif Kirmani said that the government, after loadshedding, had attacked the citizens with a “petrol bomb”.
"The government's mission to wipe clean the poor from the country is on a fast track now," he remarked.
Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, rejecting the increase, said: “The highest increase in the history of petroleum prices — 33% — is sugar scandal part two.”
Sharif said that the government had "first given a license to sugar mafia and now it has allowed the petrol mafia to loot the people".
“The government has turned out to be the biggest supporter of mafias [...] Imran Niazi’s promises to the people have proven false,” Sharif said.
“It has been proven that this government is tyrannical, devoid of compassion and incompetent.”
The opposition leader, chastising PM Imran questioned whether this was the new Pakistan the premier makes frequent mention of. "Is this the new Pakistan? Where the economy is destroyed while unemployment and disease run rampant?
Shehbaz said that his party would protest in the parliament and every possible forum against the price hike.
PPP leader Nafisa Shah, too, condemned the increase in petrol prices.
“The incompetent government’s decision to increase petrol prices is unacceptable,” she said, adding: “It is tantamount to the government capitulating before the [petrol] mafia."
"First their mafia causes an artificial shortage and then it increases the prices.”
Due to the pandemic, people from all walks of life have been affected, she said. “Increasing petrol rates at this time is an anti-people step.”
The premier's aide on political communication Shahbaz Gill, however, defended the increase, saying that the rates were still the lowest when compared to neighbouring countries.
Gill said that the prices, in terms of Pakistani Rupees, stood at Rs180 in India, Rs137 in China, and Rs174 in Bangladesh.
Power minister Omar Ayub Khan, followed suit, also insisting that prices in Pakistan "are still the lowest in the sub continent by a wide margin".