Sunday Jan 29, 2023
Hours after Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced a "massive" hike in prices of petroleum products Sunday morning, reactions from various quarters have echoed the voice of the public who struggles to register the increase fearing a fresh wave of inflation across the country.
The government’s decision, to increase petrol and diesel prices by Rs35 per litre each effective from 11am today, comes after the devaluation of the rupee against the US dollar. The prices of kerosene oil and light diesel oil have also been hiked by Rs18 per litre.
Leaders of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf have lambasted the hike as well as the ruling administration in the Centre for jacking up the cost of petroleum commodities.
Taking to Twitter, PTI Chairman Imran Khan criticised the “corrupt”, “incompetent” and “imported” government for total mismanagement of the country’s economy.
“Total mismanagement of our economy by a corrupt & incompetent imported govt has crushed masses & salaried class with latest hike in petrol & diesel prices & Rs33/$ devaluation to Rs262.6/$. Elec & gas price hike & 35% unprecedented inflation expected with Rs200bn mini budget,” he wrote.
The Khan-led party’s Secretary-General Asad Umar prayed for the country’s people seeking Allah‘s mercy.
“People are already worried about the worst inflation in history,” he tweeted.
Meanwhile, PTI member and former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Khan Suri also condemned the hike, taking to his official Twitter handle comparing the current prices with those during the PTI’s past tenure.
“The nation is paying a hefty price for [National Reconciliation Ordinance] NRO2,” he wrote on the microblogging site, alleging that the incumbent government has been brought to power through a deal.
Yasmin Rashid, a senior PTI member from Lahore, also bashed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led government for taking the major decision, which has left the public worried about their diminishing purchasing power.
Speaking with journalists in Lahore’s Zaman Town, the former health minister said that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice-President Maryam Nawaz asked the nation to trust Ishaq Dar with improving the situation. However, she said, the petrol prices increased.
“Today diesel and petrol have become expensive by Rs35 and it will affect everything,” she said.
The ex-minister alleged that the government "is trying to take the revenge, actually meant for Imran Khan, from the people".
The increase in petroleum products prices comes after the rupee hit a historic low against the dollar following the removal of the unofficial cap on the greenback.
After the devaluation of the local currency, there was widespread speculation that the government may increase the prices by over Rs80.
Amid such rumours, people started rushing to petrol stations with the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) advising people to stop spreading misleading and incorrect information.