WAJIDULLAH KHAN

PESHAWAR - Various political parties, transporters and business community have strongly condemned the recent hike in prices of petroleum products, saying that it will trigger a new wave of inflation in the country, which will ultimately affect the poor. 

They urged the incumbent PPP-led government to revise the decision and refrain from pursuing ‘anti-masses policies’, as the recent surge would manifold the miseries of the already poverty-stricken people. Reacting to the unprecedented increase in petroleum products, the leaders of different political parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), in addition to business circles have expressed their grave concerns. The tactical and vague policies of the incumbent government reflect failure on the part of the existing rulers, they said.

Jamaat-e-Islami, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, Ameer Prof Ibrahim Khan while condemning the burgeoning prices of petroleum products said that this would bring a new wave of inflation in the country. He added that the rampant corruption in government departments has led the country to the path of bankruptcy whereas the country is facing serious economic challenges due to the weak monetary policy of the government. He urgeed the rulers to shun anti-masses policies and withdraw the recent hike in POL prices.

Similarly, All Pakistan Oil Tankers’ Owners Association (APOTOA), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, has rejected surge in petroleum products and demanded of the government to reverse the prices at previous position, if not accept then they will go on wheel-jam after two days.

In this connection an emergency meeting of APOTOA was held in Taro Jaba Peshawar in which President Nasir Ali Khan and General Secretary Jan Muhammad Khan and other office bearers attended it the meeting termed the recent increase in petroleum products as cruelty that will directly affect the general public.  

According to the president of the association that the masses were facing unbearable hike while the surge in petroleum products will further put them in miseries and sufferings owning to the recent increase. They urged the government to withdraw the decision warning that otherwise the association will have no option other than going on wheel-jam strike.

Acting President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chapter, Zubair Ali has rejected the unprecedented increase in petroleum price, saying that the gradual hike was reflected anti-people policies.

He said the rising of oil price also reduced the competitiveness of country and created inflation in the country, which Pakistan already faces in double digit since 2008. 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.

Haleem Jan said that the spiraling prices of Petroleum, gas, electricity would direct affect poor-stricken masses, demanding of the government to immediate withdraw the recent hike in PoL product, gas and electricity tariff. He warned that if in case demands were not fulfill, the traders would launch a joint agitation movement against the government anti-masses policies.

Khalid Ayub, another trader said that the government had failed to fulfill its commitment for provision of food, dress and shelter (Roti, Kapra and Makan). He added that skyrocketing prices of essential commodities made life of common man miserable and termed that the direct and indirect taxes was tantamount to economic genocide and exploitation of poverty stricken masses.

Afan Aziz, President Sarhad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), while rejecting the recent hike in petroleum products, termed that the decision would directly affect the poor. He further added the unprecedented increase in petroleum prices brought negative impacts to industrial growth and trigger unemployment as a number of units were turned to standstill in current energy crisis and militancy in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.