LAHORE - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif yesterday announced cut in petrol and diesel prices from February 1, markedly less than was being expected in view of falling oil prices in the international market.
The prime minister reiterated his resolve to eliminate terrorism from the country and also said Pakistan will reach bottom of the Pathankot terror hit in India to find out the truth and facts of the matter.
He said this while addressing the media at the residences of educationist-turned-mediaman Mian Amir Mahmood and former MPA Mohsin Latif where he went separately to offer condoles on the demise of their fathers.
“It is my pleasure to announce that petrol and diesel prices have been further reduced by Rs5 per litre,” the premier said, adding that “not only has the rate of inflation decreased the country has also seen a drastic fall in the level of corruption.”
The government has long been withholding benefit of fall in prices of oil in the international market. It has been reducing the prices from time to time, but never passed on the full benefit to the people.
It was expected to slash domestic retail prices of petroleum products by up to 17 percent for February 2016. Some experts were expecting at least Rs12 per litre slash in the price of petrol, which is widely used in cars and motorcycles owned by middle class commuters.
According to a proposal forwarded to the finance ministry by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), prices of petrol could be cut by Rs7.56 per litre (9.9 per cent), bringing it down from the current level of Rs76.25 to Rs68.69.
The authority recommended Rs11 per litre (13.6 per cent) reduction in the price of high-speed diesel (HSD), mostly used in mass transportation and agriculture. The price of light diesel oil (LDO), an industrial fuel, could be cut down by Rs8.17 per litre.
KSA-Iran tiff: On Pakistan role in Saudi Arabia-Iran tension on the execution of Shia cleric on the charges of anti-state activity by the Kingdom, Nawaz Sharif in his media talk said Pakistan itself took initiative to defuse tension between the two countries since Islamabad did not want the strained ties between the two blown out of proportion.
Pakistan strongly desires normal ties and removal of misunderstandings between the two, he said. Pakistan, he added, wants the reservations on either side to be addressed.
Pathankot probe: The prime minister said that probe into the Pathankot Indian airbase attack is going on and Pakistan is determined to reach the truth for which comprehensive and complete investigation will be carried out.
To a questioner he said that matters between India and Pakistan were going on smoothly when the unfortunate incident took place that put caused hurdles in that journey.
He cited visit to Indian Prime Minister Narinder Modi to his Jati Umra residence near Lahore on way to New Delhi from Afghanistan on December 25 and earlier participation of the Indian External Affair Minster Sushman Swaraj in the Heart of Asia Conference as steps towards better relations between the two countries.
Nawaz Sharif said the facts of the Pathankot incident would be brought before the people soon. “It is our prime responsibility to probe any incident which has been connected with our land. We have told the world that we will fathom the truth and reach bottom of the matter,” he went on.
In Pathankot terror hit on January 2 four terrorists and four Indian had lost their lives. India had instantly blamed Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) as carrying out the attack, overseeing it from a Bahawalpur seminary of Masood Azhar, the chief of JeM.
India gave the ‘evidence’ of phone calls allegedly tapped during the four day stand-off in Pathankot and pressed Pakistan to take action. Later Pakistan took Masood Azhar and his brother into custody and embarked upon investigation into the incident. The SIMs allegedly used in the attack have been found unregistered in Pakistan.
Resolve against terror: To a question on anti-terror operations going on in the country, the prime minister expressed the determination not to bring any respite in the same until last terrorist is eliminated.
He said Rangers’ operation in Karachi is yielding very positive results and vowed to continue it till complete peace in this port city of the country. “The situation (in Karachi) today is much better than in 2013 when we took over after elections,” he added.
The prime minister appreciated successes achieved in Zarb-e-Azb military operation against militants in tribal areas. The operation has done well to end terrorism in the country, he said. Today the country is on the road to progress and ratio of suicide attacks is much less than in the past. This fact, he said, is also being acknowledged by the foreign media.
To a question on the implementation of National Action Plan (NAP) against terrorism and the extremism and their facilitators, the PM admitted that some parts of the plan were not carried out in letter and spirit. There is a need to step up implementation of those parts for which efforts are on, he added. He expressed the hope the efforts under the NAP would meet the logical conclusion.
Schools closure: On closure of schools in Punjab for five days in a row, Nawaz shrugged off the impression that it was due to fear from terrorists. “We were not scared even when the bomb explosions were order of the day in the past,” he said.
Economic progress: Speaking on the economic progress, the prime minister sounded very positive over achievements of targets. “We are heading for autarky in every sphere of our economy”, he said. Common man is getting relief of government initiatives, he said, adding that inflation has come down by 2 percent while foreign reserves have exceeded $21billion. Loadshedding hours have also been curtailed and the wheel of industrial progress is on the move, Nawaz Sharif said, adding that they all are indicators of a thriving economy of the country.