ISLAMABAD/KARACHI – Opposition parties as well as the allies of the ruling PPP have rejected increase in POL prices saying it would result in further inflation making life worse for the common man while even the items of daily use would become out of the reach of the poor.

Two important allies of the ruling PPP – Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and Awami National Party (ANP) –declared that they can no more accept ‘injustice’ to the people. And, MQM demanded immediate resignation of the Adviser on Petroleum Dr Asim Hussain while Awami ANP called for closure of Ogra and the petroleum ministry.

Condemning the increase in POL prices for the second time in a week, ANP spokesman Senator Zahid Khan Saturday said that if petroleum ministry has no role in POL prices, it should be dissolved. He said the POL prices increase result in further raise in the prices of other commodities and services costs.

The POL prices have been revised upward three times in a month (August); the prices have been increased by 23 percent in the last two months. Senator Zahid said his party has already filed an adjournment motion in the Senate for monthly revision of POL prices and they would also stage protest inside the House on the issue.

MQM Parliamentary leader in the Senate, Senator Tahir Hussain Mashhadi also strongly condemned fresh increase in POL prices and said people were already bearing the brunt of unemployment and price hike and they cannot afford any more increase in the prices. He vowed to disclose some secrets about the increase in POL prices in the Senate for which he said an adjournment motion will be filed.

The opposition parties also rejected the massive increase in the petroleum prices. They demanded the PPP-led government revert the notification of increase immediately. In a statement issued here Saturday, PML-N leader Saleem Zia said that current rise in POL prices would increase inflation

It would also negatively impact the trade and industry as Pakistani products would lose its competitiveness in international market, he added. Terming the hike as unnecessary, he demanded the government withdraw the current rise in oil prices. He said that three times increase in oil prices only in August reflects government’s failure and testifies that it is pursuing wrong and anti-people policies.

Jamaat Islami leader Muhammad Hussain Mehanti also said that rise in oil prices would not only create inflation it would also impact negatively trade and industry. He said, “Unfortunately, our country is already facing a crisis in term of closure of industries due to bad law and order situation and shortages of gas and electricity, resulting in flight of capital and massive unemployment and decline in government revenues,” adding that the continuous rise in oil price is unfavorable to the sustainability of economy, as it severely affect the industrial sector growth.

The trade bodies in Karachi, the economic hub of the country, also rejected the fuel prices’ increase. They said that manufacturing sector grew by only 2 to 3 percent in last two years, whereas it grew by 14 to 15 percent in 2004 and 2005.

In a statement, Karachi Tajir Itehad chief Atiq Mir said that petroleum prices not only reduce the foreign direct investment, it also shifted the domestic investment to other countries, which increased the unemployment in the country and rising budget deficit to 8.5 percent of GDP. He said instead of giving any relief to industries of the countries, it has given them problems.

He said, the rising of oil price also reduces the competitiveness of country and creates inflation in the country. Pakistan is already facing double digit inflation since 2008, he added. Reduction of interest rate by 150 basis points is a good measure of State Bank of Pakistan, but rise of oil price don’t allow us to make new investment in the country, he said. He demanded the government withdraw this rise of oil prices and fix it for medium to long-term to create economic stability in country.