ISLAMABAD: Rejecting the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association's (PPDA) demand for rising their margin, Energy Minister Hammad Azhar Thursday said that the government would not bow to the "illegitimate demands".
A day earlier, the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) had announced they would go on a strike from today (Thursday) till an indefinite period to demand an increase in the margin on the sale of petroleum products.
In a statement, Hammad Azhar said that some elements wanted the government to increase profit margin by Rs9 per litre on the sale of petroleum products in the garb of the strike.
A summary relating to the increase in the profit merging of petroleum dealers has already been moved to Economic Coordination Committee, the minister said, adding that the next meeting of the ECC would decide the matter.
“Profit margin could not be increased by Rs9 per litre to appease few companies,” he added. The government is aware of the problems of the owners of petrol pumps, the minister said, adding that the litigate demands of the dealers will be accepted by the government.
He urged the owners of petrol pumps to realize the plight of the masses and review their decision.
Panic grips Pakistan as most petrol pumps remain closed
Earlier today, long queues, brawls and traffic jams were witnessed at petrol pump stations across Pakistan as the strike announced by petroleum dealers triggered panic buying.
"Petrol pumps across the country will remain closed today," the Petroleum Dealers Association secretary had said Wednesday. "The government did not accept our demands. Till the government does not increase the dealers' margin to 6%, we will not negotiate with them," he added.
He alleged that the government had provided assurances of fulfilling dealers' demands but so far, had not spoken to them.
On the other hand, some major oil marketing companies have announced to keep their outlets open.
The supply of petroleum products will continue in the country tomorrow (Thursday) at the pumps operated by PSO, Hascol, GO and Shell, the Ministry of Energy said.
In Karachi, commuters rushed to the petrol pumps to get their fuel tanks filled in long queues, which disrupted the traffic movement on major arteries of Karachi.
Citizens were worried Thursday morning over not finding petrol at petrol stations across the city. "We searched far and wide for petrol, from Clifton to Liaquatabad, but could not get any," said one commuter, speaking to Geo News.
Another citizen said he had arrived at Liaquatabad from Sohrab Goth to find petrol. However, he had to return empty-handed. "The non-availability of petrol has increased our problems," he said.
The few petrol pumps in the city that were open had long queues of cars lined up outside them.
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