The decision to keep CNG stations closed for an indefinite period starting last Monday taken by their owners has virtually brought life to a halt in the country. Karachi was the worst hit, where roads were choked with vehicles waiting for gas stations to resume supply. Ghiyas Abdullah Paracha, chairman of the All Pakistan CNG Association (APCNGA), has announced that the gas station owners have gone on strike as a last resort since they were unable to bear further losses. Ogra, the authority that controls prices, held a meeting attended of Finance and Petroleum Ministries and representatives of APCNGA. Initially the meeting proved to be a disaster and at one stage the Ogra official staged a walkout. Later he was persuaded to rejoin.

It was painful to know at the meeting the Petroleum Ministry was charging Rs 6.50 per kg from CNG consumers which were passed on to the fertilizer sector as subsidy. The consumers were also paying gas tariffs 200 to 700 per cent more than other categories of gas consumers. The meeting could not agree on how to solve the issue, leaving the consumer high and dry, while the Finance and Petroleum Ministries and Ogra keep passing the buck to each other. This is not an acceptable scenario by any standards. The Prime Minister must intervene to provide relief to the people.