While driving to the airport on the morning of March 30, I realised that the petrol pumps along Shahra-e-Faisal, Karachi, were closed. The closure of this main traffic artery was giving a hard time to the commuters, except that the city was peaceful and there were no security threats. So, due to the news that petroleum prices will be increased considerably on April 1 most of the pumps were closed.

Earlier, I was delighted to read a report that Pakistan will complete the IP gas pipeline project after ICBC backtracked. Pakistan’s Petroleum Ministry will finalise the deal of financing and constructing the project with Gazprom of Russia under a government-to-government arrangement bypassing the PPRA rules, so that it would be completed in December 2014 to inject 750 mmcfd gas into the Pakistani system. When my flight from Multan to Karachi on April 3 was first delayed till 5pm, then cancelled without any recourse - another example for the sad state of affairs of Pakistani civil aviation - I decided to save the next day by travelling through road at night to Bhawalpur to catch the 6am flight. During my flight, I was saddened to know that the scheduled meeting of the Petroleum Ministry was cancelled because of the protests that were being held against the extraordinary price hike. And the Ministry was busy holding meetings to debate over the increased fuel prices in order to prevent the protestors from getting out of hand. This is ample proof of the government’s incapability to run the country’s affairs. Cancelling the meeting that could have made a difference for Pakistan shows that the leaders either are not good at policymaking, or want to make money from the people, or please the US that is opposing the IP project.

That is why, the owners of the petrol pumps, like everybody else, in this country are trying to make more money, in addition to what they are already making. On my return to Karachi, on April 4, I saw many petrol pumps closed to create a stir about the shortage of petrol, while some sold fuel at increased rates, even before the commencement of the new rates that were to start from the midnight (April 5). In any democratic country where the law is respected, something like this would have been impossible. But in our country where the law is often disregarded by all – especially the powerful, the less affluent think that why should they respect it. Meanwhile, the law enforcement agencies, too, are enforcing only those laws that suit the rulers and their foreign masters. When will we understand that it is our own country that we are destroying and our lives that we are making miserable? Do we ever think about what we are going to leave for our future generations to be proud?

Ali Ashraf Khan,

Karachi, April 5.