ISLAMABAD – AHMAD AHMADANI - Feeling the heat of protests and strong criticism by Opposition parties and allies as well, the government has decided to review its decision pertaining to increase in prices of POL products and is likely to announce a nominal reduction in sky-high prices, sources told TheNation on Monday.

It has been learnt that a review is underway to decrease the prices and petroleum minister is expected to announce revised prices of petroleum oil and lubricants very soon.

Petrol price is likely to be reduced by Rs 2 per litre while the price of high speed diesel (HSD) oil is likely to be trimmed down by Rs4/litre for the current month of April.

For the first time in the country’s history, all three fuels - petrol, diesel and kerosene oil - are being cost over Rs100 per litre. The price of CNG was also raised by Rs11.55 per kg. With Rs8.02 per litre hike in price petrol jumped from Rs97.66 to Rs105.68, per litre price of high speed diesel was raised by Rs4.70 - from Rs103.46 to Rs108.16 - while the price of kerosene oil was raised by Rs5.29 - from Rs96.40 to Rs101.69 per litre. Moreover, price of the high octane blending component was raised from Rs126.87 to Rs135.81 - an increase of Rs8.94, according to a notification issued by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) on Saturday night.

However, politicians, coalition partners, transporters, traders, CNG association and the common man were irked by the decision and announced to protest against the jacked up prices.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz declined to participate in the parliamentary meeting, Awami National Party (ANP) advised the government to reduce the prices while Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had also demanded of the government to reverse the decision calling it a ‘crime against public’.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) Coordination Committee had said that the increase in petrol prices was a crime against public and the decision should be withdrawn immediately. The committee added that the government should cut down its non-developmental expenditures instead of raising petrol prices, which had become a huge burden on the national kitty.

Sources said the whopping increase in POL prices had dealt a steely blow to the purchasing potential of the public across the country.

For the week that ended on March 31, inflation increased by a staggering 9.49 per cent, and the prices of 19 consumer goods soared, with more surge expected in the coming weeks. According to details released by the Statistics Division, the prices of 16 items were said to have decreased, while stability was observed in the prices of another 18 consumer goods.

The items which saw an increase in cost include potatoes, bananas, tomatoes, gur, broken Basmati rice, firewood, energy savers and dry milk while the price of onions, LPG, eggs, sugar, wheat and certain pulses decreased. The price of mutton, beef, kerosene oil, matches, cigarettes and electricity charges remained stable. After witnessing this sky-high surge in the POL and compressed natural gas (CNG) prices, traders and transporters in Pakistan rejected the hike and threatened to launch civil disobedience movement. The traders also gave government an ultimatum of three days to withdraw hike in petroleum prices.

Similarly, All Pakistan Transport Owners Association (APTOA) also warned of increase in fares if petroleum prices were not brought down. They threatened to hike the inter-city fares by 5-10 per cent.

Likewise, All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA) on Monday warned of countrywide protest if the government did not withdraw recent surge in CNG prices. Central committee of APCNGA also decided to move the court against imposition of cess on the commodity.