LIKE the rest of the world, Pakistan is also facing a fuel crisis akin to the one witnessed in the 70s. How the world deals with this problem and moderates its effects, though, varies from country to country. Though fuel prices in Pakistan have been rising inexorably for a long time, the very recent quantum jumps in rates have led to a rather distressful series of supply shocks to the economy as a whole. The media scrutiny that this inevitably led to has brought into the public mind-sphere certain esoteric facts that would have otherwise been left unknown. That CNG end consumer prices are unregulated is an example. There is also immense resentment following the long awaited public realization that a substantial bit of what we pay on petroleum products is actually government tax. If the government just cannot do without the revenue it derives from fuel, it could at least freeze the quantum it receives. The decision to scrap the Custom duty, which would amount to around Rs 40 billion per year, is a step. Announced by the Finance Minister in Karachi on Monday, if it actually is carried out, it would definitely be a step in the right direction. But even if the step translates into a decrease in the end consumer prices of fuel, the general inflation the earlier hikes would have led to cannot be reversed. There should also be some clarity on the whole issue of subsidies. Tariff on fuel feeds the public exchequer, yet we are constantly being told that fuel is being subsidized.