Multan

Although the District Administration claimed that 70 percent of the petrol pumps in the district are opened, majority of the filling stations were found shut with very long queues of citizens at a few pumps, selling petrol here on Monday.

A survey conducted by this scribe found that majority of the gasoline outlets were shut down by the owners due to suspension of supply, contradicting the claims made by the District Coordination Officer (DCO) Zahid Saleem Gondal, who claimed that 70 per cent petrol pumps of the district received supply from the oil depots. "The government has taken emergency steps to end petrol shortage. Orders for sealing petrol pumps involved in creating fake shortage and overcharging have also been issued," he added while chairing a meeting.

Demonstrations broke out in the city against non-availability of petrol as groups of enraged citizens staged many demonstrations. Angry residents perturbed by the government's incompetence to resolve the crisis protested at Kalma Chowk, shouting anti-government slogans and demanding the resignation of Petroleum Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

Typically a day of leisure, Sunday was spent by residents of Multan holding Gerry cans for up to six hours in a queue for petrol. The shortage of fuel has affected emergency healthcare services and public transporters as ambulances and buses are idle due to a lack of fuel.

At many pumps, tempers spilled over as worn out and angry citizens scuffled with petrol stations owner as their hours long wait saw no relief.

Similarly, Pakistan Saraiki Party (PSP) staged a demonstration at Chowk Nawan Shehr under the leadership of Haji Ahmed Nawaz Somroo and Advocate Javed Channer. Muttahidda Shehri Maahaz also staged a demonstration at Chungi No.9 and demanded immediate removal of finance Minister who is responsible for this crisis. Saraiki Party activists said that People of Southern Punjab were facing the acute shortage of gas, long duration of power loadshedding and now petroleum scarcity had added to their miseries. They said," Prime Minister should resign forthwith as he and his team failed to redress the grievances of the masses of Saraki waseb.