ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: With petroleum product prices having been increased, people expressed their anger on Wednesday while the government came up with justifications for what it described as a last-resort hike.
Federal Minister for Science and Technology Shibli Faraz on Wednesday advised the public to use "as little fuel as possible," Geo News reported. Speaking to journalists at the Parliament House, the minister said that it would’ve been a different case if Pakistan had its own petrol or if the country had oil wells.
“The prices of the fuel in the international market have reached up to $95,” he said, stating that the government has not imposed taxes on the fuel prices in a bid to give "relief" to the masses.
Faraz also said, "Life cannot be normal during these tough times as inflation and COVID-19 are global issues." “Our government’s priority is to subsidise food and drinks,” he added. During the conversation, he said that the Ministry of Science is trying to reduce electricity consumption, as “it will allow the government to minimise the import of oil.”
Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, meanwhile, said that the government was mulling over how to provide relief to lower middle class, adding that in six to seven months inflation pressure will ease. He claimed that they would raise the minimum wage.
Meanwhile, SAPM Shahbaz Gill said that the government had to increase the prices of petroleum products as per the trend in the international market, expressing the hope the petroleum prices would decrease in a few months.
Meanwhile, the opposition leaders said that the suffering of the people had increased manifold after the increase in POL prices and that the government should take pity on them. PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, rejecting the increase in prices of petroleum products, said that after inflation, unemployment, poverty, increase in dollar and corruption, Imran Khan reached record levels in increasing oil prices and had intensified the bombardment of inflation on the people.
“The increase in prices of petroleum products is a robbery on the pockets of the people and Pakistan will not accept it,” he said in reaction to the increase in petroleum prices. “CNG stations have already been closed for three months and now an increase in oil prices will further raise inflation and food prices. An increase in oil prices by the selected government is as big as a mountain. When the prices in the world market go up, the price of oil in Pakistan goes up. But when the prices go down in the world, they remain the same in Pakistan.”
Bilawal said that at least in the last days of his rule, Imran should take pity on the poor people. “But it appears that Imran Khan will never return to Pakistan like Moeen Qureshi after the fall of the government,” he said. “If anyone in the selected government had sympathy for the Pakistani people, they should have had a word with Khan Sahib.”
Bilawal said that the people's long march starting from February 27, would take into account every robbery committed on the pockets of the people. “The days of the puppet circus are over.”
Rejecting the price hike, Senator Raza Rabbani said the government could not hide behind international oil prices because it had committed with the IMF to increase the levy on all petroleum products. “This increase is because of the IMF. This increase will have a snowball effect and prices of essential commodities will skyrocket.”
Former Senate chairman said the government two days ago increased the electricity tariff by Rs3 per unit. “This was also done because of commitment that the government had made with the IMF,” he said.
Rabbani said, “Now it is impossible for the middle class, lower middle class and working classes to survive and being forced to take their children out of school as they cannot eat even one meal a day.”
Meanwhile, PMLN strongly condemned the PTI government for dropping another petrol bomb on the masses. In his tweet, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Every action of this government is a message of new destruction. An increase of Rs12 per litre in the petroleum product prices is tantamount to crushing the people. Every supporter of this government should see which tyrants he has handed over Pakistan to. What else will this change do to the country?”
PMLN President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said that increase in petrol price by more than Rs12 per litre was a cruel act of a tyrant, false and corrupt government. “The people have to come out against the tyrannical government,” he said, adding that people would be relieved by getting rid of the government by coming out against this government, which was increasing inflation and the price of petroleum products.
He said that the government had increased poverty, inflation and unemployment in the country. “Prices of flour, sugar, electricity, gas, medicines, vegetables and every utility item have gone up across the country due to incompetence of the present government,” he maintained.
He said that the government had increased POL prices 12th time in nine months and raised the prices up to Rs51.30 in these months.
Shehbaz said that those who were making speeches to give petrol Rs46 per litre, today approved an increase of Rs12 per litre in a single day. “There is no place for the poor in Imran Niazi's new Pakistan, only the mafias can thrive,” he concluded.
PMLN’s Central Vice President Maryam Nawaz retweeted the message of Nawaz Sharif regarding the increase in petrol prices. She also tweeted, “The wheel of time has turned. Imran Khan Sahib! No matter how much state power you use, you cannot save yourself. Your list of crimes includes not only taking revenge on your opponents but also using national and state agencies like FIA to settle personal scores. You have to give an account!”
Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Hamza Shehbaz rejected the increase in petrol price. “The credit for increase goes to the head of this government,” he said, maintaining that every fortnight, the pockets of the people were being robbed by increasing petrol prices. “This government wants to keep the people under the blunt knife after mortgaging the country's economy with foreign institutions. This government has broken the back of the middle and poor class of Pakistan.”
PMLN Lahore General Secretary Khawaja Imran Nazir, Members of National Assembly Shaista Pervaiz Malik, Ali Pervaiz Malik and Additional Secretary Information Amir Khan also condemned Rs12 per litre increase in petrol price and said that under what agenda the government was doing this with the people. “The shocking and cruel increase is the economic murder of the people. This government also wants to make Pakistan suffer more like Kazakhstan.”
Earlier, Opposition Leader in the Senate and former premier Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani strongly criticised the hike in petroleum products, saying, “It is the peak of the incompetence and ineligibility of Imran Khan-led corrupt ruling elite.”
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