The government decided on Saturday to keep the prices of petroleum products unchanged in "public interest", according to a statement issued by the Finance Division.
The decision was taken after Prime Minister Imran Khan "turned down a proposal by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the finance ministry for increasing the petrol price by Rs11.53 per litre," state-run APP reported.
"If there [is] any price differential, then [the] government [would] bear the burden and compensate both OMCs (oil marketing companies) and refineries," the Finance Division's statement said, adding that the government was "fully committed to provid[ing] maximum relief to the masses".
The decision comes amid speculation that the government may increase petroleum prices by up to Rs8 per litre for the next 15 days if it decides not to increase existing tax rates. The speculation found ground in Ogra's recommendation to increase petroleum prices.
The regulatory body had suggested that the price of petrol be increased by around Rs6 per litre and that of high speed diesel (HSD) by about Rs8 per litre, according to Dawn. The increase for other products, kerosene and light diesel oil was also estimated to be in the same range, mainly because of exchange rate loss and higher international oil price over the last 10-12 days of import cargos.
The government had last raised the price of petrol by Rs10.49 per litre and that of HSD by Rs12.44 per litre on October 16.
The price of petrol, effective was set at Rs137.79 per litre while that of HSD at Rs134.48. The prices of kerosene and light diesel oil had also been increased by Rs10.95 and Rs8.84 per litre respectively.