Bureau Reports/Reporting Teams
KARACHI/LAHORE/PESHAWAR/QUETTA/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) on Thursday has gone on strike across the country over government’s negligence in increasing the dealer margin to six percent. Chairman PPDA while holding a press conference at Karachi Press Club said, “the association will observe indefinite strike by suspending the supply from its petrol pumps from November 25, 2021.” Almost all petrol pumps were shut in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and other cities of the country. Panic gripped major cities on Wednesday as citizens rushed to petrol pumps to top up tanks of their vehicles.
The Opposition lashed out at the government over the ongoing petrol crisis, as thousands of people lined up to get their tanks filled after Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) announced a country-wide strike Thursday. PML-N Vice-President Maryam Nawaz said the government’s “apathy and incompetency” had forced people to wait in long queues to get wheat, sugar, and petrol. Terming it “the height of injustice”, Maryam said that despite all the chaos, the government has been “inconsiderate” towards the masses. The PML-N leader claimed she had never witnessed Prime Minister Imran Khan “being worried over a common man’s problems.”
Sharing a video on Twitter in which a man could be seen criticising the government as he stood outside a petrol pump in Islamabad — along with several people waiting to get their tanks filled — Maryam said: “This is the humiliation that Imran Khan has earned for a few days in power.” In another tweet, Maryam shared images of long queues outside petrol pumps in Islamabad, Lahore, and Gujranwala, and said: “These are not just long queues, [these images depict] people’s misery, pain, and helplessness.” The PML-N said she prayed, “Imran Khan, people who impose him [on the country], and ministers” also stand in such long queues so they could realise the misery of the masses.”
Meanwhile, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, in a statement, said the entire nation was worried as the government had shown its “incompetence” in dealing with petroleum dealers. “Most of the petrol pumps are closed in the country, while several long queues could be seen businesses affairs are affected, which is the government’s failure,” the PPP leader said. Bilawal said PM Imran Khan had “ruined” the lives of people after his government had affected every aspect of life. “PTI-led government turns solvable issues into a crisis through its incompetence.” The PPP chairman noted the next increase in the price of petrol would be disastrous for the masses, as he said that the rise in the rates of electricity, expensive petrol, and gas were the “gifts of the PTIMF deal”. “From day one we had said that the PTI’s budget was a failure and the failure of the budget has proved that Imran Khan’s government is incompetent,” Bilawal said.
Long queues, brawls and traffic jams were witnessed at petrol pump stations across Pakistan Thursday morning as the strike announced by petroleum dealers triggered panic buying.
In Karachi, commuters rushed to the petrol pumps to get their fuel tanks filled in long queues, which disrupted the traffic movement on major arteries of Karachi. Similar to the situation in Karachi, most petrol pumps in Islamabad and Rawalpindi were also closed, causing problems for citizens. The petrol dealers association have shuttered petrol pumps across Peshawar as well, saying that the strike will continue till the government fulfils their dealers’ demands. Petrol pumps in most areas of Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta, also remained close Thursday due to the strike. The strike caused problems for citizens who found it difficult to reach their schools, offices and other places.