Feb 6 - 12, 20

The government and the LPG producers dropped another bombshell on consumers on Wednesday last by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel, CNG and LPG prices making POL products dearer by Rs3 to Rs6.29 per liter, LPG by Rs14 per kg and imposing 10 percent infrastructure development surcharge on CNG effective from February 1, 2012.

Totally unconcerned about the miserable economic conditions of the masses due to ever rising inflation, the present so called "people government" has shown remarkable consistency in raising POL prices.

This is the 7th bombshell the incumbent government has dropped on the poor masses of this country knowing fully well its direct contribution towards rising inflation.

Through these callous decisions during the last four years, the prices of petrol and petroleum products, CNG, LPG and kerosene oil have shot up on an average by over 100 percent, and being a major contributory factor to rising inflation, the cost of living has gone up by about 200 per cent turning middle class into poor and poor class into destitution.

Experts have already predicted that that people would be exposed to more surges of inflation on account of the latest surge in POL prices.

Worried people belonging to different walks of life have strongly reacted against the government decision. Large crowds came on the streets in Islamabad and Rawalpindi strongly protesting and raising slogans against the government demanding immediate withdrawal of the decision.

It passed a unanimous resolution demanding that the government should withdraw its decision to increase the prices of petroleum products with immediate effect.

The resolution was moved by PML-Nís, Ahsan Iqbal, and signed by all opposition parties and the coalition partners of the government. But, following the request from the ruling PPP, the PML-N and the government coalition partners agreed to give at least a week to the government to reconsider the raise in prices of petroleum products and levy of surcharge on CNG.

The resolution passed by the assembly said that the government decision would put a burden on the common person by increasing the inflation further.

Later talking to the reporters, Ahsan Iqbal said that one-week time was given to the government on the request of the prime minister. "But the crux of the resolution remains that the raise is to be taken back".

The leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, that the prices of petroleum products had been increased 100 times during the last 10 years. He termed the petroleum levy a fraud and called it "Jagga Tax" being extorted from the people in billions by giving a free hand to powers, that be to raise the prices of petroleum products at will.

Informed sources were almost of unanimous view that there was no truth in the government claim that it was providing any subsidy on POL products. Subsidy means negative taxation.

But, the fact of the matter is that the government is collecting about Rs165 billion yearly from taxes on POL products. Now, they have included CNG and LPG in this system to further raise their income.

The share of taxation on POL products is the largest contributor to FBR revenues.

It appears that the so-called people government is totally oblivious of the difficulties of the people as it is taking measure after measure to add to the burden of the common person contrary to all its promises made to the masses during its election campaign. As a matter of fact, all its policies are pro-rich and pro-elite totally ignoring the common person. The poor and the common persons have suffered the most during the last four years of the PPP led government.