State Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik on Friday said raising the fuel prices by Rs30 was a “difficult decision”, but taken to “save the country from bankruptcy and destruction” a day after the government instituted the measure to revive a stalled IMF bailout programme.
“We made a difficult decision to save the country from destruction and bankruptcy and to bring stability,” Malik said at a press conference alongside PML-N senior vice president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The presser came after the prices of petroleum and diesel hit record highs in the wake of the government’s raising prices for a second time in a week — cumulatively by Rs60, leading to sporadic protests in various cities.
“In a few months, you will see stability. God willing, there will be stability — there will be some pain also,” Malik said. “Some of the pain the federal government has shouldered. I believe the government has given about Rs250 billion in subsidies.”
He added that some of “those who have been blessed” would also have to bear the pain. “We are trying as much as possible to not burden the poor, for whom we announced Rs2000 per family to weather this crisis.”
He reiterated that it was a difficult decision, but it was made to save the country from destruction, which he blamed on the PTI regime.
Malik said: “They had contracted to the IMF that they would raise petroleum prices. They had committed that they would also apply petroleum levy and sales tax in addition to raising prices.
“So when a country makes a sovereign commitment to an international organisation, and before leaving, its selected PM tears up commitments like how he did with the Constitution, [it begs the question] what did they want to do? I’ll tell you what they wanted to do. They wanted to bankrupt and destroy the country.”