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PM Nawaz cancels Davos trip as criticism grows over petrol crisis

Updated January 21, 2015

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The premier is keeping himself updated regarding the petrol shortage in Punjab, a spokesman said. AFP/ File
The premier is keeping himself updated regarding the petrol shortage in Punjab, a spokesman said. AFP/ File

ISLAMABAD: As citizens and politicians alike lambasted the government for the prevailing petroleum and energy crisis, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif decided to cancel his trip to Switzerland, where he was scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum.

"Instead of leaving for Davos, the prime minister has called a meeting tomorrow to review the supply and demand situation of petroleum in the country for the next two months," a spokesman for the PM House said.

The spokesman said the premier is keeping himself updated regarding the petrol shortage in Punjab and has created a special cell in the Ministry of Petroleum for this purpose.

The high-level meeting taking place at the PM House tomorrow will be attended by Ministers for Finance, Petroleum and Water and Power.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Geneva-based non-profit organisation best known for its Annual Meeting in Davos. The WEF this year is scheduled to be held on January 21-24.

Nine days into a debilitating fuel shortage that has immobilised parts of Punjab, the PM returned from Jeddah and ordered an inquiry into the crisis and said that officials responsible will be taken to task.

Frustrated citizens in Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Sialkot and Multan spent Sunday queuing up at the handful of petrol pumps open in the respective cities, with some saying they had been there overnight without any respite.

At many pumps, tempers spilled over as worn out and angry citizens scuffled with petrol stations owner as their hours long wait saw no relief.

The prime minister chaired a meeting on Tuesday during which he reviewed the petroleum situation in the country, and issued directives for structural changes in order to ensure that the current petroleum crisis situation does not arise again.

The two-member committee tasked to inquire into this matter presented their initial findings to PM Nawaz, informing him that the petrol shortage was a serious failure on the part of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) as a regulator.

The meeting endorsed the earlier decision of suspending four senior officials responsible for the crisis and decided that Deputy Managing Director of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) Mr Sohail Butt was also equally responsible and ordered his suspension as well.