Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf ordered authorities on Saturday to withdraw the latest increases in petroleum prices following a day of protests and walkouts in the National Assembly over the price hike.

The prime minister issued the instructions during a meeting with Minister for Finance Saleem H Mandviwala at the PM House in Islamabad.

The finance minister briefed the premier about the overall economic situation in the country and the compulsions and rationale for the recent increase in petroleum prices.

The prime minister, however, directed the finance minister to immediately withdraw the recent increase in petroleum prices as it was adversely affecting the lives of the common people.

“The democratic government will not impose any additional burden on the common man and will do its utmost to alleviate the sufferings of the people”, he said.

An increase of about four per cent was announced Thursday in the prices of petrol and other petroleum products for March.

The main opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N), and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) protested in the National Assembly on Friday and staged a walkout against the price hike. An MQM lawmaker questioned the price increase, claiming the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) had not consulted a parliamentary committee formed for the purpose.

According to the notification on Thursday, from March 1 the price of petrol would have been increased by Rs3.53 per litre (3.42 per cent) to Rs106.60, that of high speed diesel by Rs4.35 (3.99 per cent) to Rs113.56, kerosene by Rs3.75 (3.76 per cent) to Rs103.69 and light diesel by Rs3.93 (4.2 per cent) to Rs98.25.

Following the PM’s orders, all increases notified Thursday would be revoked and prices would stay at their current levels.

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