The ongoing shortage of fuel in the country is not the first of its kind. We saw similar situations in the past as well. Each time successive governments assured the public of fixing the situation and every time it failed to fulfil the promise made to the people. Fuel shortage occurs either because of hoarding or the failure to keep the needed stock. The present crisis, however, in all probabilities is a mix of the two.

Regardless of which reason is the cause behind the shortage, the government is accountable. Only recently, the government suffered embarrassment because of sugar and flour crises. The government tried to assuage the public by saying categorically that no one would be allowed to hoard public commodities.

But the present fuel crisis exposes that little implementation went behind this call. The ruling party, like all other political outfits, also came to power after criticising the previous governments for poor governance and mismanagement. However, the queues outside filling stations tell us that this government has not found keeping supply lines open any easier.

It is unclear who is exactly to blame; depending on who you ask, fingers are pointed at the government, OMCs and petrol stations. Some experts blame petroleum companies for creating an artificial fuel shortage in the market. Since these companies failed to buy petrol at cheaper rates, now that the prices have been reduced, they want to cover their losses by hoarding the fuel. Even if this is the case, the fact that the authorities failed to keep a check on the situation while all of this happened, knowing full well that they were reducing prices to record lows, reflects the inability to foresee a major issue.

Thankfully, Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has ordered action against the artificial fuel shortage. However, we know such ad hoc solutions never work in the long run. Before anything else however, the PM must take the Oil and Gas Regulatory Association (OGRA) to the task, as it failed to notice the delay in the import of petroleum. Doing so will automatically prompt OGRA to take action against the ones who defied the government orders.