The gas price hike definitely caught the attention of all the relevant stakeholders in the economy - from political parties to the common man, an overwhelming increase in gas price lacking a concrete rationale was just not acceptable. Price hikes put a huge amount of burden on the market - both the consumers and the producers and such decisions need not be taken in isolation.

The decision of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) to revert the price hike has been viewed by many as the classical u-turn associated with the ruling party - Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaaf (PTI). There was a lot of pressure and criticism from Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) to do away with the policy. Along with this criticism, the Sindh government was also standing in opposition to the move because the decision was totalitarian in nature and took away provincial autonomy from relevant political actors.

The new government needs to involve the key players in the decision making process because the ECC has no legal jurisdiction to implement price hikes unless the matter is brought up in the parliament, opened for debate and approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI).

During this time period of revising the policy, the government must come up with a concrete rationale to implement its policies and understand the dynamics of the market to ensure materialisation of their plans - which in this case would be to introduce a new subsidy mechanism. The lack of preparation on part of the ruling government can push their political growth back and the endless to and fro about decisions will not accommodate them to create a positive narrative surrounding the government and its policies.

The government’s intentions may be laudable but they need to go through the proper channels, decisions like this cannot be imposed from above.