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PAKISTAN RUNNING ON FUMES

Pakistan's petrol woes continue

Not very long ago in 2015, when the energy crisis had gripped Pakistan,  the founder of Naya Pakistan, his Excellency Mr. Imran Khan was quick to declare PML-N government ‘worse’ than PPP.  This time around when the protesters have once again brought the country to a halt by choking the pathways, blocking the roads, and vandalizing state property, Imran Khan is again blaming the past governance for all the failures, the easiest way to shrug off all public fury.  Almost a routine activity in Pakistan now, irking the citizens to helplessly voice out against repeated government failures, leaving them frustrated.

As a quick fix measure, Secretary Petroleum Muhammad Ejaz Chaudhry has directed Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to supply all available stock of petrol to the market on an emergent basis. However, sources from Pakistan State Oil (PSO) revealed that the crisis is for real and would hit the people soon again if not addressed timely.

The plight of a common man in Pakistan

Undoubtedly, the current petrol crisis is a consequence of deep structural problems in the energy sector compounded by the burden of a puppet government which the people of Pakistan have to lug. Also abiding by the cocky reigns of the self-proclaimed Messiahs – the Pak Military is another pain that the citizens are overburdened with.

The common man in Pakistan gets the brunt of it all and continues to suffer, compounded with lawlessness which is already plaguing the country from all corners.

Long queues of vehicles including private cars, passenger buses, and vans and motorcycles are seen at different filling stations. There are numerous complaints that the sale depot of oil companies, instead of ensuring smooth supply to filling stations, were selling petrol and diesel to petroleum agencies who, taking advantage of the situation and shortage, were selling it at higher rates of about 20 to 30 rupees per litre.

Failed democracy leads to failed governance

The crisis could only have been prevented if the government had anticipated (the crisis) and taken early measures to import more petrol, prevent depletion of stocks and manage demand better. But appears as if it is too much to expect from our so called caretakers.

The government is trying to pin the blame on other factors but mounting evidence indicates that the crisis is financial in nature. The truth is that it has failed to build up adequate oil stocks and Pakistan State Oil (PSO)has exceeded the credit limit of $3 billion.

Import of the crude oil and oil based product puts a lot of burden on the countries already grappling economy. Had the government had taken bold and firm steps to improve hydel power generation, then it would have not only added higher value to the power sector but also would have shown its impact on oil import budget. But it has failed to tap its vast hydropower potential because policy makers view energy policy in terms of short-term political tenure and put personal interest over national interest.

Where will the people go when there is no petrol and no electricity? An honest tax payers life is brought to a halt recurringly by bad governance.  Then may I ask what is the hype surrounding  Naya Pakistan?  Or is it merely a publicity stunt by the Kaptan who only aces the blame game policy.

08 Jan 2019/Tuesday.                                                                                         Written by Afsana 

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