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Monday January 24, 2022

Widespread condemnation over petrol price hike

"The PM should have some mercy on the people and take back his decision to hike prices of petroleum products," says MQM-P

By Web Desk
November 05, 2021
File photo
File photo

The coalition partners of the PTI Friday joined the Opposition parties in slamming the government after a massive hike was notified in the price of petroleum products.

The finance ministry announced an increase in the price of petrol by Rs8.03 per litre today, a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan warned the nation that a hike in fuel prices was imminent.

Reacting to the development, the MQM's Rabta Committee condemned the hike, stressing that it will have a direct effect on the prices of essential items.

"The public has already been crushed under the weight of inflation," stated the party's Rabta Committee. "Shifting the entire burden of globally increasing prices of food items on the public is not a wise decision."

The party advised the government to do away with "unnecessary expenditures" instead of shifting the burden of inflation on the masses.

"The prime minister should have some mercy on the people and take back his decision to hike prices of petroleum products," it added.

Another ally of the ruling party, the PML-Q, also condemned the petrol price hike, saying that the prime minister's relief package was not adequate for the masses.

"The country is undergoing extreme inflation, the poor are being crushed and no one seems to care about it," said the PML-Q's Kamil Ali Agha during Geo News morning show Geo Pakistan.

He said the PTI government does not believe in consultations.

Opposition slams PM Imran Khan

In a statement, PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif said that since the incumbent government came to power, it had brought the entire nation to "the ration card".

"Imran Khan lets the axe of inflation fall on the public and then wonders why inflation is surging in the country," he tweeted. "Over the past three years, the price of edible oil has increased by over 130%," he added.

The PML-N president said that the price of edible oil going up from Rs160 to Rs369 is unjustified, he said, adding that a "storm of inflation" had followed the prime minister's announcement of a relief package for the masses.

"The hike in prices of petroleum products is proof that the government does not care about the poor," he wrote.

He said that while the price of petrol had not surged past the Rs145 per litre mark, the government had exceeded the limits of ineptitude, corruption and incompetence.

"Increasing the prices of petrol and diesel by Rs8 per litre will also have a direct effect on prices of other items. It has become difficult for the common man to live," he wrote.

He said it was in the best interests of the entire nation and the masses that the prime minister "goes home instead of wreaking further havoc", adding that inflation, unemployment and "economic destruction" do not go away merely via allegations of corruption.

PPP warns of protest

Opposition party PPP also reacted to the hike in petroleum prices, demanding the government to slash prices immediately or else be prepared for "Dama Dam Mast Qalandar."

"The masses should be ready. The PPP will soon announce its anti-government protest programme," said Shazia Marri.

She said the prime minister had harmed the public instead of providing them relief. "Imran Khan has taken anti-public measures in his bid to fulfil the IMF's agenda," she said.

Govt clarifies

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Finance, Muzzammil Aslam, tweeted about the hike in petroleum prices, clarifying that the government was only collecting 1.43% under the sales tax head with the new prices in place.

He said that if the government collected the full 17% in sales tax, the price of petrol per litre would surge past Rs160 per litre.

"If an additional Rs30 petroleum levy was charged then the price of petrol would surge to Rs180 per litre. The government did not collect Rs35 per litre [to provide relief to the masses]," he said.