ISLAMABAD: PTI Chairman Imran Khan today called the reduction in petroleum prices by the federal government as a cruel joke on the nation. He said the reduction was insufficient and unacceptable.

In a press statement today, Khan asserted that it is all too clear that the PMLN government, in order to borrow more money from International Monetary Fund (IMF) is inflicting hardships on the poor masses as well as local industry by pushing through IMF-dictated policies.

“It is also a well-established fact that such IMF-dictated policies are a major source of social instability and unrest in developing countries,” he noted.

Khan asked how can a 45% GST on diesel be justified by a government which had promised to reduce the 16 % GST it inherited from the previous Zardari government?

Read more: Govt. increases sales tax on petroleum products

Khan reminded that diesel is the primary fuel that is being consumed by transporters in their buses, farmers in their harvesting machinery and merchants in their generators and hence fluctuations in the price of diesel affect them directly.

This is the second consecutive month that the PMLN government has ignored the proposals submitted by OGRA to curtail petroleum prices. Instead, it has applied its own formula to make the most out of the global drop in oil prices instead of passing on the benefits to the over-burdened masses.

Khan said it was shameful how the PMLN government is determined to continuously add to the miseries of the ordinary citizens’ lives. Equally unfortunate is its undermining of the whole industrial sector through its policy of regressive taxation and raising the cost of production by through expensive fuel. The majority of industry, Khan stated, after the PMLN government’s anti-industry policies would not be able to compete with low cost products being sold in the markets.

Khan also reminded that the masses got maximum relief in the prices of petroleum products during PTI’s historic 126-day “Dharna” when the PMLN government felt compelled, because of PTI pressure, to pass on the benefits of global price reductions to the masses.

Also read: Petroleum prices reduced by Rs3/liter

Khan concluded that it seems the only time PMLN listens is when people come out on the streets to protest. However, he said he hoped this time the PMLN government would not wait for PTI to bring people on to the streets to force it to withdraw the heavy taxation on petroleum products and pass on the actual benefit of reduction in global oil market to the masses. It should do this immediately if it cares even an iota for the plight of the ordinary Pakistani citizens.