Rawalpindi - A large number of residents on Saturday staged a massive protest against persistent shortage of petrol and closure of filling stations in the district and blocked Gulyana Morr for all kinds of traffic.

The enraged protestors while carrying placards and banners chanted slogans against Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif and Federal Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and demanded them to resign from their offices for their failure to overwhelm petrol scarcity in the province.  

According to details, a good number of vehicle owners, motorcyclists gathered at Gulayana Morr and demonstrated against artificial shortage of petrol.

They also blocked the road for vehicular movement and chanted full-throated slogans against the government and demanded resignation of premier and petroleum minister.

They said that petrol was not available anywhere owing to which people were facing problems. They said that the owners of pumps have suspended the supply of petrol and shut down the pumps.

On the other hand, crisis of petrol kept haunting commuters even on the 5th consecutive day as the government has failed to ensure smooth supply of the commodity. Long queues of motorcyclists and other vehicles outside the petrol filling stations are forced to wait for hours to fill petrol. Due to shortage, everyone try to fill their tanks or fill as much as he can.

A total of 30 out of total 125 filling stations are providing the service, most of them are Shell Company outlets, it was observed during a survey by The Nation.

While the rest have been closed down after it consumed its existing stock. The number of filling stations is expected to reduce as most of the stations will dry in a day or two. “We have left with only 8,000 litres in stock which will dry up in next 24 hours looking at the rush,” said Amir, a worker at a filling station near Kutcheri. He said the situation would get out of control if the supply disrupted even another day. Besides, all filling stations owned by Pakistan State Oil (PSO) have been closed down across the city. The unavailability of commodity has badly affected public transport to other cities of the Punjab.

People intended to travel to other cities of the province suffered a lot due to the absence or low availability of public transport vehicles at major bus stands in Rawalpindi.

The shortage forced the passengers to wait for hours while most prefer to go back homes, hotels and relatives’ houses.

“In this unique so-called atomic power, we can only expect miseries and disappointment from our incompetent and dishonest rulers,” criticised Bhatti, while waiting for his turn outside a filling station in Commercial market to fill petrol in his car.

Filling stations that have consumed its existing stocks placed barricades or erected tents and send the workers on leave. First the government stopped supply of CNG to filling stations and now it failed to ensure supply of petrol, added a Khalid Khan, a taxi driver. He wished all the fillings stations throughout the country go dry so that people could take to the street and send the incompetent leaders home.

The long lines have also caused massive traffic jam in the city. The situation got chaotic on the crowded roads due to long queues and closure of Murree road as hundreds of vehicles stranded in the city. “The rulers should be ashamed. They have failed in resolve the crises and this is why Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is hitting them hard,” commented Zafar Iqbal, who was waiting outside the filling station.

The shortage entered its fifth day which may worsen in coming days as the supply to filling stations is expected to be restored by Monday, Raja Khawar Ahmad, manager of the pump.

Minister for Petrolium was not available for his comments.