Thursday, February 17, 2022
Amidst the public outrage after petroleum prices were raised to an all-time high on Tuesday, the government, in its defense, has called it a "last-resort" hike, while the opposition has rejected the decision and asked the government to take some pity on the public, The News reported.
The Federal Minister of Science and Technology, Shibli Faraz, however, has advised the public on Wednesday to use "as little fuel as possible," according to Geo News. The minister told journalists at Parliament House that things would have been different if Pakistan had its own petrol or oil wells.
“The prices of the fuel in the international market have reached up to $95,” he said, stating that the government has not imposed taxes on the fuel prices in a bid to give "relief" to the masses.
Speaking about the COVID-19 impact on global market, the minister said that "Life cannot be normal during these tough times as inflation and COVID-19 are global issues," adding that "government’s priority is to subsidise food and drinks."
During the conversation, he said that the Ministry of Science is trying to reduce electricity consumption, as “it will allow the government to minimise the import of oil.”
Meanwhile, Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin stated that the government is considering ways to support the lower middle class, adding that inflation pressures will reduce in six to seven months. He asserted that the government will increase the national minimum wage.
SAPM Shahbaz Gill stated that the government had to increase petroleum product prices in line with the international market trend, while expressing hope that petroleum prices will decline in the coming months.
On the other hand, opposition leaders said that the people's suffering has multiplied as a result of the hike in POL prices and that the government should take pity on them. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan People's Party, rejected the increase in petroleum product prices, stating that after inflation, unemployment, poverty, a stronger dollar, and corruption, Imran Khan increased oil prices to record levels, intensifying the bombardment of inflation on the people.
"The increase in prices of petroleum products is a "robbery on the pockets of the people and Pakistan will not accept it,” he said in reaction to the increase in petroleum prices.
“CNG stations have already been closed for three months and now an increase in oil prices will further raise inflation and food prices. An increase in oil prices by the selected government is as big as a mountain," said Bilawal while questioning why is it "when the prices in the world market go up, the price of oil in Pakistan goes up. But when the prices go down in the world, they remain the same in Pakistan.”
Bilawal added that "it appears that Imran Khan will never return to Pakistan like Moeen Qureshi after the fall of the government,” adding that “If anyone in the selected government had sympathy for the Pakistani people, they should have had a word with Khan Sahib.”
Bilawal said that the people's long march starting from February 27, would take into account every robbery committed on the pockets of the people. “The days of the puppet circus are over.”
Rejecting the price increase, Senator Raza Rabbani, stated that the government could not hide behind world oil prices because it had committed to an increase in the levy on all petroleum products with the IMF. "The IMF is responsible for this increase. This increase will have a snowball effect, pushing up the prices of essential commodities," he said.
According to the former Senate chairman, the administration increased electricity tariffs by Rs3 per unit two days ago. "This was also done as a result of the government's commitment to the IMF," he explained.
PMLN has also strongly condemned the PTI government for dropping another petrol bomb on the masses. In his tweet, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Every action of this government is a message of new destruction. An increase of Rs12 per litre in the petroleum product prices is tantamount to crushing the people. Every supporter of this government should see which tyrants he has handed over Pakistan to. What else will this Tabdeeli (change) do to the country?”
PMLN President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that increase in petrol price by more than Rs12 per litre was a cruel act of a "tyrant, false and corrupt government."
“The people have to come out against the tyrannical government,” he said, adding that people would be relieved by getting rid of the government by coming out against it, which has been increasing inflation and the price of petroleum products.
“Prices of flour, sugar, electricity, gas, medicines, vegetables and every utility item have gone up across the country due to incompetence of the present government,” he maintained, while adding that the government had increased POL prices 12th time in nine months and raised the prices up to Rs51.30 in these months.
Shehbaz said that those who were making speeches to give petrol Rs46 per litre, today approved an increase of Rs12 per litre in a single day. “There is no place for the poor in Imran Niazi's new Pakistan, only the mafias can thrive,” he concluded.
PMLN’s Central Vice President Maryam Nawaz retweeted the message of Nawaz Sharif regarding the increase in petrol prices. She also tweeted, “The wheel of time has turned. Imran Khan Sahib! No matter how much state power you use, you cannot save yourself. Your list of crimes includes not only taking revenge on your opponents but also using national and state agencies like FIA to settle personal scores. You have to give an account!”
Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz rejected the increase in petrol price. “The credit for increase goes to the head of this government,” he said, maintaining that every fortnight, the pockets of the people were being robbed by increasing petrol prices. “This government wants to keep the people under the blunt knife after mortgaging the country's economy with foreign institutions. This government has broken the back of the middle and poor class of Pakistan.”
PMLN Lahore General Secretary Khawaja Imran Nazir, Members of National Assembly Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Ali Pervaiz Malik and Additional Secretary Information Amir Khan also condemned Rs12 per litre increase in petrol price and said that under what agenda the government was doing this with the people. “The shocking and cruel increase is the economic murder of the people. This government also wants to make Pakistan suffer more like Kazakhstan.”
Earlier, Opposition Leader in the Senate and former premier Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly criticised the hike in petroleum products, saying, “It is the peak of the incompetence and ineligibility of Imran Khan-led corrupt ruling elite.”
Originally published in The News