People reject new petroleum prices

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KARACHI – The people of Pakistan have unanimously rejected Thursday’s hike in petroleum prices, saying the move would increase inflation by at five to 10 percent across the country. The inflation-stricken masses would face around 10 percent increase in price of all items after nine to 13 percent hike in petroleum prices, sources told Pakistan Today. The hike would have its impacts in three dimensions, as it would increase freight charges, cost of production and transportation, and resultantly increase the price of all products by around 10 percent, All Karachi Tajir Itehad (AKTI) Chairman Atiq Mir said.
He said a majority of the people, like daily wagers, would face severe crisis as they would lose their purchasing power completely. Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) President Muhammad Saeed Shafiq said it was unwise to pass on the rise in global POL prices to a section of the society which had zero capability to bear the burden. “It will be a surprise if someone makes his monthly ends meet through the minimum salary package of Rs 7,000, as fixed by the government,” he added. “The government passes on the international price to the poverty-hit masses without even considering the existing rate of inflation,” he said.
Karachi Transport Ittehad (KTI) demanded the government withdraw the increase in petroleum prices, announcing that KTI would hold a meeting on April 4 to review the situation and decide whether to increase transport fares by up to 15 percent, sources said. The sources said Interior Minister Rehman Malik was likely to visit Karachi on Friday night to discuss the issue with the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and other trade bodies and associations.