Political instability & fuel price hike in Pakistan | By M Nadeem Bhatti

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Political instability & fuel price hike in Pakistan

THE world moves on energy and fuel is the main ingredient that generate it. The prices of petroleum products in Pakistan are increasing with every passing day. This week, the government announced a price hike of Rs. 60 per liter. In our country, fuel prices determine the prices of almost everything due to their role in transportation. As the state increased the prices, the traders arbitrarily increased the prices of all daily use and necessary item.

Even the Punjab government is considering increasing the fare of Orange Train from PKR 40 to 60. It will be the failure if they increase the fares of public transport. At a time when inflation is practically killing people, at least the government should not give rise to fares.

The current government is blaming the previous administration for making a faulty agreement with the IMF that had tied the hands of the incumbent and forced it to increase oil prices to put the economy on the right track. According to the spokesperson, the government had a big challenge to rescue the country, and rising petroleum prices were the only option. After the new prices, petrol will be available at Rs233.89 per liter.

And if compared with other countries in Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia are the cheapest countries where even the poor can afford fuel too. Due to price hike, social and industrial activities are reserved, and due to this FBR has to face failure in each of its future policy. Malaysia turns out to be a country that sells fuel oil (BBM) to the public the cheapest among Southeast Asian countries (ASEAN), including cheaper than Indonesia. Although Indonesia still sells fuel prices of Rp 5,150 per liter.

The country changes prices once a week. It said as a general rule, richer countries have higher prices while poorer countries and the countries that produce and export oil have significantly lower prices. Malaysia is the 10th cheapest on the list at 46.6 cents per liter of gasoline. The cheapest gasoline price is in Venezuela at 2.2 cents per litre. Compared to these two countries, Pakistan is lacking way behind, and that’s because of its politicians’ passive policies.

A famous writer and author (Major Maqbool Chaudhry) has left Pakistan and settled in a farm house in Northern Ireland 30 years ago, to get a peaceful life in search of nature. Such kind of people should stay in Pakistan but the circumstances force them to leave the country. Since the arrival of this government, it’s the 4th time that we have witnessed an extreme price hike in prices of fuel.

May it be a business person, a salaried individual, a shop owner, or a public servant, everyone is getting affected due to this inflation and political instability. People and investors are afraid to start a new business or invest in any sector. One of the reasons behind this is the uncertainty that we have been witnessing for the last 3 decades.

With every passing day, the situation is getting worse, and nobody is sure what to do and bold enough to take effective steps in favor of the public and economy. In addition, the crime rate has also gone too far because a number of people have shut down their businesses and lost their jobs during the Covid crisis.

The damage done by the Pandemic still has not recovered, and several people are forced to work for lower wages and salaries. The icing on the cake is political leaders are just playing their dirty games to fulfill their pockets. Without any public interest, they are still organizing gatherings and rallies just to show their power game.

Another reason behind our failure of providing affordable fuel to our public is the lack of strategy and planning. Moreover, the FBR is continuously annoying people by increasing taxes on daily day items. The board is applying taxes even on small-scale businesses, which accumulate billions of dollars in their annual revenue. Still, we have to go to IMF to run our crippling economy. What’s the point of asking for loans if you want a tax on even a small candy?

The real picture of worst situation of our society to be noted by the honourable Chief justice of Pakistan (Justice Umar Atta Bandial) to take strict action against the rising inflation and passive policies of the government. Also, take into account what the politicians are doing these days. They have again started the game of mice and cat, and every one of them is busy pulling the leg of their competitor politician. We have all been witnessing that politicians always blame the previous governments for the failure of the economy and other ongoing crises in the country.

This dirty game of politics is never going to end. The best examples are our assemblies as we can see, there are just 7 to 8 federal ministers who speak or take action against the policies or criticize a certain bill. The rest of the members just sit still and enjoy the ongoing there following by clapping. This is not the Pakistan for which Quaid e Azam and our ancestors sacrificed their youth and then lives. They did not dream of what the politicians were currently doing. The country was founded in the name of Islam, to practice this beautiful religion, and there is not a thing that is forbidden in Islam and our politicians do not do it.

After having a critical telephonic session with renowned lawyer of Lahore chamber of law in UK (Mr. Raza Rehman), I believe that regulatory bodies should be made to keep track records of our politicians’ income and assets and to keep them focused on their tasks. As politicians, their prime responsibility should be to serve the public and figure out their wants and requirements. If they fail to serve the public in the best way possible, they should not be given the right to fight the election and sit in the assemblies. Above all, they must have to be filers, and all of their assets should be purchased by the right mean. And if they can’t justify how and when they buy a certain property or business, that valuable asset should be taken into custody and auctioned to feed the poor and the needy.

—The Writer is a Senior Social & Economic Analyst Can be found at [email protected]

 

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