In response to the historic increase in petroleum prices, opposition leaders condemn and slam the government. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif accused the PTI government of being “insensitive and heartless” to the sufferings of inflation-affected people.
In a notification issued last night, the government announced a significant increase in the prices of all petroleum products by up to Rs10 to Rs12 per liter for the next fortnight ending on February 28 “to pass on the impact of high international oil prices” and additional petroleum levies, 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.
On the previous hike in petroleum prices, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), said that it is PM Imran Khan’s new year gift to citizens and that the only way to end inflation is by ousting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Shehbaz, the PML-N president from the opposition, slam the PTI-led govt due to petroleum prices hike on Wednesday, 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”.
Sirajul Haq, the Jamaat-i-Islami head, said his party “will not remain silent on this brutality”. He added that the hike was another example of the government’s “brutality” as he threatened a protest march towards Islamabad.
Others also chip in
PPP chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari criticized the rate hike and said the days of the “‘selected government are numbered”, adding that the citizens will not accept it at any cost. He 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”.
Chiming in, PPP’s Nafisa Shah questioned how people would make their ends meet after the steep hike.
Another PPP leader Naz Baloch, formerly a PTI member, said the price surge would directly result in a new high in inflation.
The decision for the unprecedented hike was announced yesterday by the Ministry of Finance after PM Khan agreed to raise a levy on all petroleum products by Rs4 per liter to honor 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.
While the citizens are enraged by the government’s decision, they are not missing the opportunity to create memes about it. Perhaps it has become a coping mechanism at this point?
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