Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said on Friday that petrol would become cheaper than CNG in Pakistan.
Abbasi, who has been under pressure over the petrol shortage in the country, made this statement during a joint meeting of Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance, Petroleum and Water and Power.
The minister said on January 1, the country experienced its largest demand for petrol in history. He added that following the reduction in the international market, the price of petrol would again be slashed in February.
The meeting was not attended by federal ministers Ishaq Dar and Khawaja Asif, triggering the attending senators to stage a token walkout in protest.
Declaring the masses responsible for the petrol crisis, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said 40,000 metric tonnes (MT) of petrol was consumed on January 1, 23,000 MT on January 2 and 19,000 MT by January 19. He ruled out lack of funds, PSO’s financial situation and stock exchange standings as possible reasons behind the crisis.
Lashing out at the media, Abbasi claimed that the electronic media wrongly reported closure of up to 30 fuel stations in Karachi, prompting consumers to begin panic buying. He also blamed beggars for selling petrol in black.
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Chairman Saeed Khan informed the meeting that petrol had been sold in open market for as high as Rs 300 per litre. He said OGRA was responsible for maintaining the petrol stock for 20 days. However, he added that the regulatory body was not responsible for the export of the fuel.
The meeting also witnessed exchange of hot words between the petroleum minister and Senator Maula Bakhsh Chandio of PPP besides ANP senator Zahid Khan’s spat with State Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali.
All senators and three chairpersons declared explanation from the concerned ministries and departments unsatisfactory.