February 17, 2022
ISLAMABAD – The historic hike in prices of petroleum products has drawn condemnation from opposition parties’ leaders, with PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif accusing the PTI government of being “insensitive and heartless” to the sufferings of inflation-hit masses.
The government last night notified an unprecedented increase in the prices of all petroleum products by up to Rs10 to Rs12 per litre for the next fortnight ending on Feb 28 “to pass on the impact of higher international oil prices” and application of additional petroleum levy, as committed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
These are the highest-ever prices of all the products and also perhaps the highest-ever increase in their prices in one go.
The government had last increased the petrol prices by Rs 3.01 to Rs147.83 on Jan 15.
Shehbaz, the PML-N president, hit out at the PTI-led government, saying “it is snatching people’s right to live”.
He urged the masses to “teach Prime Minister Imran Khan a befitting lesson in the next general elections”.
The present govt is the most insensitive, heartless & cruel. By exploding the oil bomb on the people, it is snatching their right to live. I urge the masses to teach IK & Co. a befitting lesson at the time of elections. Those supporting this regime will also face people’s ire.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) February 16, 2022
Sirajul Haq, the Jamaat-i-Islami head, said his party “will not remain silent on this brutality”, adding that the hike was another example of the government’s “brutality” as he threatened a protest march towards Islamabad.
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari criticised the rate hike and said the days of the “‘selected government are numbered”, adding that the citizens will not accept it at any cost.
Bilawal also said the long march planned by his party on Feb 27 will hold the government accountable for its policies.
PML-N’s Ishaq Dar noted the rate hike was unaffordable for the public, saying it was the result of a “dictated devaluation in Pakistani rupee”.
Dictated Pak Rupee devaluation has landed Pakistani nation with unaffordable prices per litre of petro products which have been increased by #ImranNiazi Govt to new peak:
Petrol Rs 12 to Rs 160
HD Diesel Rs 10 to Rs 154
Kerosene Oil Rs 10 to Rs 127#petrolprice pic.twitter.com/bZFvc6em23
— Ishaq Dar (@MIshaqDar50) February 15, 2022
Meanwhile, PPP’s Nafisa Shah questioned how people would make their ends meet after the steep hike.
The increase of #petrolprice by Rs 12 by #PTIGovt at Rs 159/ litre is cruel to say the least. The cost of petrol/diesel was never this high- it’s not just int oil prices but devaluation of the rupee that has made it worse for the people. How on earth will they make ends meet?
— Nafisa Shah (@ShahNafisa) February 15, 2022
Another PPP leader Naz Baloch, formerly a PTI member, said the price surge would directly result in a new high in inflation.
#PetrolPrice hits all-time high in Pakistan, sharp increase of Rs 12 per litre will directly effect the common man and increase further inflation in the country. pic.twitter.com/k0xY6cBCRs
— Naz Baloch (@NazBaloch_) February 15, 2022
The decision for the unprecedented hike was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Finance after Prime Minister Imran Khan agreed to raise a levy on all petroleum products by Rs4 per litre to honour the commitment made with the IMF for smooth continuation of the ongoing Extended Fund Facility (EFF). However, the GST rate on all these products was kept unchanged at zero.
Petrol and HSD are two major products that generate most of the revenue for the government because of their massive and yet growing consumption in the country. Average petrol sales are touching 750,000 tonnes per month against the monthly consumption of around 800,000 tonnes of HSD. The sales of kerosene and LDO are generally less than 11,000 and 2,000 tonnes per month, respectively.