ISLAMABAD - Hike in petroleum prices has badly affected the already hard-pressed masses and they have demanded of the government to provide subsidy instead of passing on the burden to them. The incumbent rulers, instead of giving relief to people, are pushing them into a dark alley, they said during a survey conducted by TheNation on Saturday. They said that hike in POL prices would further compound the miseries of commuters and transporters. We were expecting that the government will bring some relief to the depressed people, but continuous increase in POL prices is going to ruin our expectations, Mehboob Alam, a resident of G-11/3 told TheNation. The prices of electricity, gas, agricultural inputs and items of daily use have been increased exorbitantly after jump in POL prices, he deplored, denouncing the measure and said the recent price hike is unprecedented as well as record-breaking. Majority of the people demanded that increase in the prices of petrol and diesel must be withdrawn. They suggested that instead of passing on the burden of the rise in oil prices to the poor masses, the government should control corruption and cut down its lavish spending. Many poor countries like ours have not increased petroleum prices but our government is bent on crushing the people, Anwar Shah, Australia-based economist told this correspondent. He said the rapidly increasing inflation rate in the country is the outcome of unwise policies of the government. Anwar Shah further said that during the first two years of the present government situation went from bad to worse and the people had pinned hopes on the new elected PPP led coalition government. The government should therefore, concentrate on the real issues for some relief to common man. It is relevant to mention here that with the advent of Muharram holidays transporters taking advantage of the large-scale exodus of citizens from the twin cities to their native towns have also raised the transport fares. Meanwhile, the Capital police along with other law-enforcement agencies conducted a flag march here on Saturday to show preparedness for maintenance peace and tranquility in the city. A spokesman for police said that contingents of Pakistan Army, Rangers and Frontier Constabulary took part in flag march. The flag march was started from Prade Avenue and culminated at D-Chowk after passing different areas of the city including Fazal-e-Haq road, Kalsoom plaza, Kashmir Highway, F/8, F/10 Markaz, Dhokri Chowk, Radio Pakistan and Barri Imam.