Pak govt under fire over fuel price hike

TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi threatened to paralyze the whole country through protests and sit-ins if the government did not reverse its decision…reports Hamza Ameer

Islamic political party Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) has given an ultimatum of 72 hours to the federal government to withdraw its notification of increasing prices of petroleum products, threatening of dire consequences if its demand is not met within the given time.

TLP chief Saad Hussain Rizvi threatened to paralyze the whole country through protests and sit-ins if the government did not reverse its decision to increase pries of petroleum products, which he said was done to further damage the lives of the masses and please the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“I am giving a 72-hour ultimatum to the government to withdraw the increase in the prices of petroleum products immediately,” he said while addressing a press conference.

“If the government fails to meet our demands, we will do what is we are well-known for,” Rizvi added while hinting towards historical events when TLP choked the federal capital and its twin city Rawalpindi for weeks, while its party supporters blocked main highways, roads and connecting routes in major cities including Lahore and Karachi, as it protested against the then sitting government and brought hundreds of thousands of its supporters on the streets, who forcibly resisted clearance operation from the security forces and later forced the government to agree to its terms in a written agreement.

The Shehbaz Sharif-led government had increased the price of petrol by 22.20 PKR and High Speed Diesel (HSD) by 17.20 PKR per litre on February 16, in order to meet the pre-conditions of the crucial funding approval of the IMF.

The fresh price hike, coupled with over 100 per cent increase on gas prices have further inflated the existing spiraling inflation in the country as it continues to confront a dangerous and time ticking economic meltdown threat.

“The rulers of this country were begging the IMF for the 23rd time in 75 years. Pakistan’s debt has increased by 23 per cent in just one year. These rulers are not thinking about making the IMF visit the country’s nuclear plants and weapon sites as well. Such actions have squeezed the poor man to such an extent that he is unable to even think of protest,” stated Rizvi.

“The government should cut its expenses by shrinking its army of ministers and advisers. Free fuel offered to politicians and government officials should be stopped immediately as they use up millions of litres every day.”

Rizvi said that the officer bearers of TLP should go to everyone in public engagement, including the business community and tell them that TLP is standing with them, insisting that an Islamic system in the country is the only solution to the current crisis.

The TLP holds massive following and has shown its street power in the past by protests and sit-ins, pushing any ruling government on their knees in the past.

It had also lashed out at former premier Imran Khan’s government when it had raised fuel prices as well.

Before that, the TLP had demanded removal of the French ambassador and launched a strong protest against what it called deliberate targeted comments by the French premier, who had defended the offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in France during 2020, by calling it a freedom of expression.

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