The current government under the leadership of Imran Khan has increased the petrol and diesel prices for the third time in the last 31 days. A notification issued by the PM Office read that price of petrol has increased by Rs2.70 effective from February 1 (Monday) after approval from Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Prime Minister Imran Khan approved a minimum increase in the cost of the petroleum products in the interest of the public, contrary to the recommendations sent by the OGRA (Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority), read the statement.
A price hike of Rs2.88 was announced by the government for high-speed diesel and the tariff of kerosene oil was jacked up by Rs 3.54. The price of light diesel was also increased by Rs.3. The new tariffs would come into force at midnight.
The statement further declared that OGRA had recommended an increase of Rs.13.18 for petrol, Rs 12.12 for high-speed diesel, Rs 6.62 for light diesel and Rs 11.10 for kerosene oil. However, following on the minimal increase on PM Khan’s instructions, petrol would be sold at Rs. 111.9 per liter, kerosene at Rs 80.19, high speed diesel at Rs 116.07 and light diesel at Rs 79.23 per liter.
This is the fifth time that the government has jacked up the prices of petroleum in the past nine weeks. It has obviously sent shock waves throughout the country and farmers in particular whose lives had already been adversely affected by Covid19.
PPP has stood up against the government’s decision and demanded for the price hike to be reversed. The recent increase in the prices of petroleum products is unacceptable as it would burden the poor who are already suffering due rise in gas and electricity tariffs said, PPP Secretary General Nayyer Hussain Bokhari. He said that the government increases petrol prices every fortnight which is baffling. The only agenda of the current government is to make the lives of the poor people miserable instead of providing them relief, he added.
PML-N leader Miftah Ismail said that earlier news channels would bring up PM Khan’s old tweets where he criticized the increase in prices and equated the surge in petroleum prices to the Prime Minister being a thief. However, it seems like the news channels have also given up now, he added.
Increase in petroleum prices challenged in LHC
The local media reported that a writ petition has been filed in Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday, challenging the increase in prices of petroleum products.
As per reports, Judicial Activism Panel has filed a petition, asking the court to declare the government’s move to increase fuel prices as illegal. The petition states that the poor man who is already bearing the brunt of rising inflation is being burdened even more.
It is evident that the government has pushed the people to the edge with its decision. The steady increase in the petrol and diesel prices has made life intolerable for a common man. The unforeseen pandemic Covid19 had already resulted in loss of livelihoods and this move by the government has added to the woes of the people. The farmers would be hit the hardest as they are reliant on diesel for irrigation and transport.
This increase in the prices of petroleum products is bound to have a cascading effect and will lead to a surge in prices of other essentials. This would further complicate the family budgets that have already been strained by high gas and electricity prices.
At a time when the people are struggling to make ends meet after the cruel onslaught of the pandemic, the government should have explored means to stimulate their consumption. However, what Pakistan is witnessing is quite the opposite.