ISLAMABAD: Political parties have censured the caretaker government for the massive hike in petrol prices, saying the move will put a further strain on the masses already battling with rampant inflation and eroding purchasing power.
The petrol and diesel prices have hit record levels after the government increased the prices by Rs26.02 and Rs17.34 per litre, respectively, on Friday.
Leading the tirade, PTI criticised the government and said the price hike appeared to be “a conspiracy to inflame civil war in the country” as people have already lost their purchasing power due to ballooning inflation.
A statement by the PTI spokesperson rejected the hike in prices and called it “a cruel blow to the poverty-stricken masses who are already reeling under soaring prices of all essential commodities”.
PTI fears move could ‘incite civil war’; JI seeks public support in protests against fuel, power rate increase
The party spokesperson urged the caretaker government to “shun the callous approach of punishing the inflation-ridden masses for their own follies and flawed economic policies”.
People have already lost purchasing power due to inflation and rampant unemployment and the record-breaking increase in fuel prices seemed part of “a well-conceived scheme to trigger a civil war in the country”.
“The caretaker government is an extension and continuation of the PDM government in all respects. PTI was expecting that [caretaker Prime Minister] Anwaarul Haq Kakar would choose a better path to ease public woes,” said the statement.
The party expressed concern that the latest increase would further intensify the destructive wave of inflation and demanded immediate withdrawal of the price hike.
“The government should stop the series of extortion forthwith.”
JI seeks public support
Separately, Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq also flayed the government over the price hike.
While condemning the move, he claimed the government had increased the prices on IMF’s instructions.
He appealed to the people to take to the streets and become part of the protests launched by his party to force the government to take back the price hike.
“Jamaat-i-Islami is protesting against the increase in power and petrol prices and has plans to stage sit-ins in all four provinces,” said Mr Haq.
According to media reports, Sardar Abdul Rahim of the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) also rejected the increase in petroleum prices.
He attributed the move to the previous PDM government’s agreement with the IMF.
Istehkam-i-Pakistan Party’s Secretary Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, also condemned the price hike and called it unacceptable.
Ms Awan said instead of burdening the masses, the caretaker government should try to provide relief to them.
The IPP’s secretary added her party’s manifesto for the next general elections would present solutions to problems faced by people.
Published in Dawn, September 17th, 2023