ISLAMABAD - The current increase in gas prices has belied the tall claims of the government that it would erase all sorts of distortions in the overall gas price outlook. Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) calls upon the government to immediately withdraw the announced gas price hike.

Chairing a meeting of businessmen at ICCI to discuss this issue, Asad Farid, Acting President ICCI, said that business community was hoping for economic revival in 2012 but government has dashed all such hopes by giving the New Year gift of massive hike in gas and petrol prices.

He said that Pakistan's economy was still struggling for recovery and it was the need of the hour that Government should have focused on reducing cost of doing businesses instead of increasing gas and petrol prices many folds during the last two years.

ICCI Acting President said that due to closure of CNG stations consumption of petrol and diesel has increased sharply which would ultimately increase the oil import bill that would add burden on national economy.

He said that power crisis in Pakistan was getting worse than ever and current energy crunch was hitting industrial output badly. He said that due to a series of false promises and wrong priorities of Government, our country was losing more than $10 billion every year caused by power shortages.

Asad Farid was of the view that industries in Islamabad were in dire straits due to shortage of gas which may result in creating worse law and order situation because of unemployment of a large number of labor force in the industries. Thus, Government needs to address the prevailing adverse situation with extreme urgency, he maintained.

He said that Government should focus on proper planning instead of generating all funds through public utilities. Asad said that as natural consequence of long gas load shedding and price hike, labor force has already completed to come on roads to protest. He emphasized that the Government not to adopt such anti-people and anti-industry policies.

Acting President ICCI said that it was in the greater national interest that Government should withdraw the announced power hike to save trade, industry and the economy from total destruction.