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PESHAWAR/NOWSHERA: Transporters and workers of political and religious parties on Tuesday staged separate rallies in different parts of the province against the fresh increase in petroleum prices and demanded its immediate withdrawal to prevent agitation.

In Peshawar, the transporters asked the government to revise fare list warning if the demand wasn’t met, they would increase fare by themselves.

The demand was made during a rally taken out by the Muttahida Transporters Association at the General Bus Stand.

Association leaders Khan Zaman Afridi, Haji Noor Mohammad, Mohammad Alam Mohmand and Farhad Khan warned that they would observe partial strike on Wednesday (today) and stage a rally at the Haji Camp bus stand on GT Road against hike in petroleum rates.

“We (transporters) want the immediate revision of fare list in line with the latest increase in fuel prices,” Khan Zaman Afridi said.

Also, the Jamaat-i-Islami workers took out a rally outside the Peshawar Press Club shouting anti-government slogans.

Provincial chief of the party Senator Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, who led the protesters, said escalating inflation rate had made the people’s life miserable.

He said the fresh increase in petrol prices would cause the rates of at least 300 goods to go up with members of the low-income groups being the most affected.

Senator Mushtaq said the ruling PTI had promised better living standard, relief in prices, jobs and shelter but it had failed to fulfil the promise.

“The government should immediately withdraw the latest fuel price increase otherwise the people will agitate to oust it,” he said. The Qaumi Watan Party also staged a demonstration outside the Peshawar Press Club here against higher petrol rates.

Holding banners and placards and shouting slogans against the government, the protesters warned that other parts of the province would also witness protests if the fuel price hike wasn’t reversed immediately.

QWP provincial leader Tariq Ahmad Khan, who led the rally, said the ruling PTI had increased oil, electricity and gas rates to the misery of the people already badly hit by poverty.

He resented increase in inflation rate saying it has exposed the government’s poor economic policies.

“Our protest against price hike will continue. We will hold demonstrations across the province,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz provincial information secretary Ikhtiar Wali Khan said the government had taken the first step towards its fall by increasing price hike. He told reporters here that the PTI lacked capacity to deliver on all fronts, especially economic one, to the misery of the people.

In Nowshera, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Goods Transporters Association held a procession against increase in petroleum prices and warned that it would give a call for wheel jam strike if the old oil rates weren’t restored.

All Goods Transporters Khyber Pakhtunkhwa general secretary Sikandar Khan led a rally from the Kabul River in Nowshera Kalan to Shobera Chowk, Nowshera cantonment, where a public meeting was held afterward.

Carrying banners and placards and shouting slogans against the government over growing inflation rate, especially higher oil rates, the protesters blocked the GT Road at Shobera Chowk for three hours suspending traffic. They warned that they would begin a wheel jam strike across the country if the government didn’t withdraw fuel price hike.

In Mansehra, too, the activists of Jamaat-I-Islami’s Youth Wing took to the streets against increase in petrol prices.

They warned that if the increase wasn’t withdrawn, the party’s youth wing would agitate across the country.

Published in Dawn, April 3rd, 2019