The federal government has increased the price of petrol and diesel by Rs35, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar announced Sunday.
The latest price hike came after the recent devaluation of the rupee against the dollar following the removal of the unofficial cap.
The finance minister, in a televised address, said that the reports of artificial fuel shortages surfaced because of the speculations on social media regarding an Rs50-80 increase in petrol and diesel prices.
|Increase/Decrease (in rupees)|
|Light diesel oil||Rs169||Rs187||+18|
The speculation was one of the reasons that the government had increased the prices of petroleum products immediately, he added.
It should be noted that the rumours of price increased had the people rushing to petrol stations, but the Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) advised people to stop spreading misleading and incorrect information.
Dar shared that OGRA had requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the government to implement the new rates on an immediate basis to prevent the temporary hoarding and the speculations about the shortage of petrol.
The minister admitted in the address that the speculations had led to artificial shortages in the market.
"We will have to keep in view the 11% increase in petroleum prices in the international market," he said.
Dar said that in the last four months, from October to January 29, the prices were not increased once. He added that in fact, petrol and diesel prices were decreased by Rs19 or Rs20 during this period.
He added that the kerosene oil and light diesel oil were decreased Rs29 and Rs30.
"Despite the rupee devaluation and the increase in international prices, it was determined that a minimum price would be increased on the directions of PM Shehbaz," said Dar. He hoped that the immediate decision would dismiss the rumours about shortage of petrol.
Meanwhile, OGRA officials said that action would be taken against those who have shut down petrol pumps in some cities.
The officials said that the licenses of those closing the pumps would be suspended.
The regulator is getting help from the district administration through the provincial chief secretaries, said the officials.
They added that this matter would be resolved soon.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan condemned the "mismanagement" of the economy by the "corrupt and incompetent imported government" that has rushed the masses with the latest price hike.
"Total mismanagement of our economy by a corrupt & incompetent imported govt has crushed masses and salaried class with latest hike in petrol and diesel prices and Rs33/$ devaluation to Rs262.6/$. Electricity & gas price hike & 35% unprecedented inflation expected with Rs200bn mini budget," said Khan.
President of the Central Organisation of Traders of Pakistan Kashif Chaudhry rejected the Rs35 hike in the petrol and diesel prices, saying that the increase in prices will give rise to inflation.
Chaudhry urged the government to immediately withdraw the increase in the prices.