Committee set up to probe petrol shortage

Updated Jul 01 2020

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Government is also re-examining the impact of 27-66 per cent increase in petroleum prices. — APP/File
Government is also re-examining the impact of 27-66 per cent increase in petroleum prices. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Amid increasing pressure from within the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and public criticism, Prime Minister Imran Khan has constituted a four-member committee to probe the recent shortage of petrol and fix responsibility.

Sources told Dawn that the government was also re-examining the impact of 27-66 per cent increase in petroleum prices notified on June 26 following public outcry, with the consideration to make some downward adjustments.

However, the sources said a couple of presentations were needed to be made at the right forums before a final decision.

The committee led by Shahzad Qasim, the special assistant to the PM on mineral resources, comprised Rashid Farooq, a former member of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Asim Murtaza, chief executive officer of the Petroleum Institute of Pakistan, and Naazir Abbas Zaidi, a former executive of Hascol Petroleum and Pakistan State Oil.

The prime minister has directed the committee to complete the inquiry within 10 days and submit its report by July 10 positively. The petroleum division shall provide secretarial assistance to the committee.

The inquiry committee has also been directed to cover matters relating to identification of causes, including but not limited to, impact of price decrease on import or availability of petrol, hoarding if any by Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) including curtailing the supply from depots to retail outlets.

The report would also ascertain hoarding if any by petrol stations and whether the availability of petrol, this year, was higher compared to last year in the corresponding months and the impact of Covid-19, if any.

The committee had also been asked to examine the role of the petroleum division and Ogra and whether actions taken by the two agencies were prompt and commensurate with the crisis.

Published in Dawn, July 1st, 2020