ISLAMABAD - The opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Saturday rejected the increase in prices of petroleum products saying that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) surrendered before the cartel of oil companies.

Former chairman Senate and PPP lawmaker Mian Raza Rabbani in a statement said that the federal government notified a record increase in the prices of petroleum products, including petrol and diesel, ranging from “27 percent to 66 percent” depending upon the product.

 “This arbitrary step is condemned,” he said adding that the decision to hike the prices was announced earlier than scheduled on the 1st of July.

 “The international cartel of oil companies which have been behaving like a mafia has succeeded in making the government succumb to its pressure of increasing the prices to maximize their profits.”

Rabbani said that the decision was announced by the Ministry of Finance as opposed to the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). He claimed that the ministry made this decision after holding consultations with staffers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 “It is regrettable that now even oil prices are controlled by the international financial imperialists.” PPP stalwart pointed out that the decision to increase prices of petroleum products was taken without a summary initiated by the oil sector regulator.

He further said that the cartel of oil companies deliberately created an artificial oil shortage with the connivance of some members of the civilian bureaucracy when prices were lowered. “Even today they don’t maintain the required stock level as per their license.”

Rabbani concluded that the government has failed to apply the law, including the much-talked Hoarding Ordinance, to deal with this cartel, in particular. “The petroleum cartel like other mafias has defeated the federal government and now the rule of law.”

The parliamentary leader of PPP in the Senate Ms Sherry Rehman also rejected increase in prices of petroleum products what she said that such record increase was never made before. She said that the price of per litre petrol was increased to Rs 25 in a day for the first time

“The government has no reason to increase the prices,” she said adding that this increase will bring a tsunami of inflation,

Senator Rehman said that Prime Minister Imran Khan should explain the reason of this decision to the masses and the parliament. She said that the government was inviting wrath of the people with this decision.