Panic buying of petrol ends in Lahore as oil tankers call off strike  


Second round of negotiations between government authorities and All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) on Wednesday proved successful as the possibly devastating strike came to an end, bringing down with it the frenzied panic-buying of petrol here in the city yesterday.

The earlier expected petrol shortage due to the strike had disrupted the city’s routine as motorists worried about fuel availability rushed to buy petrol from different filling stations in the city. Vehicles lined up at filling stations located at Lawrence Road, Shimla Hill, , Johar Town, Railways Stations,  Ferozepur Road and other localities as people armed with bottles and cans were also seen in the hands of people. Exchange of hot words between petrol pump staff and the motorists was also seen at several stations.

Petrol pumps across the country shut down after supply was halted when the All Pakistan Oil Tankers Association (APOTA) went on a strike against the government’s decision to check if the tankers were according to the standard fixed by OGRA after the Ahmadpur Sharqia tragedy.

On Monday, the APOTA had announced going on countrywide strike in protest of rules imposed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). OGRA had said it would start checking  tankers as it was feared many oil tankers did not fulfill the quality criteria.

APOTA had in turn refused to comply with government orders pertaining to the use of substandard and unsafe vehicles for the transportation of fuel. However, the strike was called off when government authorities and oil tankers association held successful talks on Wednesday and the APOTA was assured consideration of an increase in freight fares.

Earlier, motorists had been concerned as to how they would manage their everyday commute if the strike lasted longer.

One such, Ahmad Raza said after hearing the news about the closure of the stations due to tankers strike “How I can I afford not to attend my office for many days when I will have no petrol in my car. How can I take care of any emergencies?” he told Pakistan Today at a filling station on Davis Road.

Muhammad Usman, another motorist, said he watched the news about oil tankers strike and “ran out of my office and got tank of my bike filled to avoid any untoward situation in the future. I even told my colleagues at office and they did so,” he said while speaking to Pakistan Today.

 Mohammad Akbar, a consumer at Davis Road, added:  “I came here to get the maximum fuel for the emergency situation. People are saying that the filling stations would be shut down any time from today.”

“We understand why people want to get their tanks filled. They fear that petrol pumps may shut down in the days to come,” said Muhammad Adeel, the manger of a petrol pump at Lawrence Road.  However, he clarified, “We have not received any directive for the shutdown in the coming days.”