Tuesday December 05, 2023

Political parties slam interim govt for hiking POL prices to all-time high

September 17, 2023

Political parties from diverse ideologies have condemned the latest surge in petrol prices, calling for an immediate reduction in inflation that has been exerting relentless pressure on poor people and the country’s economy.

Their collective voice resonates with a single demand for a reduction in inflation that has been tightening its grip on the working and poor classes. This consensus in the political landscape also reflects the urgency and severity of the economic challenges faced by the public, as parties put aside their differences to address the issue of increasing inflation.

JI condemns hike

Karachi Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Hafiz Naeemur Rehman has strongly condemned the caretaker government for increasing petroleum products’ prices to an all-time high and rejected the whopping increase of petrol by over Rs26 and diesel by Rs17, translating into an unbearable increase of Rs58.48 in just one month in petrol price and Rs55.78 in diesel.

He demanded the caretaker government should mend in ways amid a press conference held at Idara Noor-e-Haq, the JI Karachi headquarters, on Saturday.

The JI leader said that the caretaker government had been increasing the burden on poor masses as per the International Monetary Fund’s directions but it showed inability to impose taxes on feudal lords and curtail the free supply of resources to the already privileged class.

“Did the IMF ask the caretaker government to impose excessive taxes on the salaried persons and spare the privileged class,” the JI leader asked.

He said that the recent hike in the petroleum products’ prices was the continuation of the brazen policies introduced by previous regimes. Such policies had pushed the lower and middle classes further beneath the poverty line, he said, adding that these policies had also triggered inflation to propel to an all-time high.

He said the JI would pace up its campaign against inflation and stage a sit-in outside the Sindh Governor House on Oct 6. He also urged Karachiites to join the JI’s drive against inflation.

The JI leader demanded of the caretaker government to withdraw the hike in petroleum products’ prices as well as excessive taxation in the electricity tariff.

PTI holds PDM responsible

Karachi Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Khurram Sher Zaman and Karachi PTI Women Wing President Fizza Zishan in their separate statement said the Pakistan Democratic Alliance (PDM) was solely responsible for inflation in the country.

Fizza said that once again the burden of rising prices had been placed upon the shoulders of the common people. Despite the weakening dollar exchange rate, the relentless ascent in petroleum product prices showed no signs of stopping, she added.

She lamented that even the caretaker government seemed to be oblivious to the suffering of the common man. “It seems like all of this is happening under a premeditated plan. The worst inflation, illegitimacy, untimely court decisions, and, amidst all this, the most popular leader among the people has been sent to jail because he is the only one who can influence public opinion,” she said.

“When the dollar can be controlled, why can’t petrol? The caretaker government has been appointed just for caretaking, while the real decisions are being made elsewhere. Only a people’s leader can save the country from this quagmire. Those who haven’t received the people’s votes should never make decisions that affect the people positively,” she continued.

Meanwhile, Zaman expressed strong disapproval of the alarming hike in petroleum product prices. “These steep increases have left the lower and middle-income classes in shock,” he said.

He questioned whether the public would now have to resort to cycling or walking instead of using vehicles due to these price hikes and why there was an increase in petrol prices when the dollar exchange rate was decreasing. He said that it appeared that even the caretaker government had fallen victim to the PDM’s agenda. He called for the immediate withdrawal of the notification regarding the price increase in petroleum products.

It’s a serious threat: MWM

Sindh Majlis Wahdat-ul- Muslimeen president Allama Baqir Abbas Zaidi said in a statement that the rise in prices, if continued, would pose a serious threat as it may force the already burdened population to commit suicide collectively.

He said the direct impact of price hikes in petroleum products was causing further inflation and was a result of the flawed policies of the previous incompetent government and the current caretaker government’s ineffective policies. ”Why is there an increase in petrol prices when the dollar is weakening?” he questioned. It appears that the caretaker government, like its predecessor, is only indulging in empty rhetoric, while the masses are enduring the consequences, he said and called for an immediate rollback of the notification concerning the increase in petroleum product prices, stressing that such price hikes are an injustice to the people.

The MWM leader highlighted that the ruling government seems to be constantly introducing new measures that exacerbate the economic plight of the people. “The authorities have left no stone unturned in burdening the populace with higher prices for essential goods and services. If the government truly wishes to save the country, it must eradicate corruption.” He urged the government to announce a reduction in petroleum prices instead of increases and work towards alleviating the financial hardships faced by the people.

Haqiqi sees ulterior motives

Mohajir Qaumi Movement-Haqiqi chairman Afaq Ahmed also has expressed condemnation of the alarming rise of Rs26 in the petrol price. He stated that the government was acting upon a hidden international agenda and intentionally imposing inflation to achieve ulterior motives by putting the common people on the streets.

Ahmed pointed out that our atomic capability, which has made our defense impregnable, is seen as a threat by Jewish and Christian interests who are conspiring to deprive us of this capability. By subjecting the public to inflation and bringing them to the streets, the West is expecting demands similar to those made by the starving people in the Soviet Union states.

He said that burdening the poor masses with loans, instead of the elite, and thereby depriving them of their right to live is nothing less than treachery against the country. Instead of becoming a part of international conspiracies, the government should roll back the increase in petrol prices and immediately channel the extra revenue gained from the recent rupee depreciation towards alleviating the burden of inflation on the people.

MQM-P for economic stability

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan in a statement also condemned the recent significant hikes in the prices of petrol and diesel in the country.

In a statement issued on Friday night, the MQM-P leaders stated that the prices of petroleum products in the country had reached their highest levels. The current month’s increase in petroleum product prices had taken away the meager resources from the mouths of the poor.

They stated that the government was burdening the people instead of reducing its extravagant expenditures. Due to the government’s policies, the rich are getting richer while the poor are sinking further into poverty. These actions are particularly affecting wage earners, who are an essential part of society and are now finding it impossible to meet their basic needs.

In a statement, MQM-P senior deputy convener Farooq Sattar said that on the one hand, the public is grappling with rising inflation, and on the other hand, employment opportunities are diminishing on a daily basis. The country is facing an economic crisis, and in such circumstances, all stakeholders, especially political parties, need to play a role not only in economic but also political stability.

GDA asks govt to show mercy

Sindh Pakistan Muslim League-Functional (PML-F) general secretary and Grand Democratic Alliance information secretary Sardar Abdul Rahim in a statement condemned the increase in petroleum prices and demanded an immediate rollback of the price hike in petroleum products, asserting that the nation could not bear further inflation.

Rahim warned that the direct consequence of this increase in petroleum prices would be felt in the rising costs of everyday necessities, affecting the lives of ordinary people. He claimed that instead of providing relief to the people in these difficult circumstances, the government had plunged them further into the quagmire of inflation. Rahim said that increasing petroleum product prices was depriving the public of their basic necessities, and it had become impossible for salaried individuals to make ends meet. The patience of the suffering population, affected by inflation, is running thin, he warned.