Fawad Chaudhry lambasted for comments on petrol price hike

Petrol and diesel prices rise by Rs.5 per litre, will remain this way till end of this month

Picture source: AP

Frustrated netizens lambasted Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry after he said that petrol prices in Pakistan were amongst the lowest in the region, just a day after the price hiked by Rs5 per liter.

Chaudhry tweeted on Thursday and said that oil wells weren’t discovered in the last three years of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government, so it was obvious that petrol prices would rise as the commodity was imported. The PTI lawmaker added that it was still worth lauding that over three quarters of the population’s income had increased manifold under the regime.

Sindh Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah retorted at Chaudhry’s praise of PTI’s performance. Shah said that apparently oil wells did crop up for the sugar, flour and drug sellers under PTI, but the oil was only drained from common people.

Journalist Murtaza Solangi called Chaudhry out for fallaciously claiming that incomes had risen. Solangi reminded Chaudhry that economists found that Pakistani middle class had virtually disappeared as about 40 percent of the population fell below the poverty line.

Poet and author Atif Tauqeer could only offer sarcasm at Chaudhry’s statement. Tauqeer insisted all his friends to send their gratitude and best wishes to the minister and the PM for the price hike.

A teacher, Umair Siddiqui, fired Chaudhry’s critical reasoning back at him. Siddiqui said that it was inflation that was highest in the region, not petrol prices that were the lowest. He remarked that a capable finance minister did not emerge in PTI’s three years so an imported finance minister was needed who would only increase prices. The actual applaud-worthy win, Siddiqui sardonically said, was that Pakistan was getting rid of the poor.

A user said that Chaudhry’s statement reminded him of how PTI members were trained to defend everything at the behest of the country’s impoverished people. He added that this was an outcome of installing the ‘elite’ in leadership.

A user reminded Chaudhry that Prime Minister Imran Khan had previously said that if petrol prices rose then people should know that their leader was a thief.

The user had referred to an older statement on price hikes by Imran Khan, who was vying for power just before General Elections 2018. Khan had tweeted that the common man was impacted by rising fuel costs, which resulted from Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PMLN’s) money laundering activities.

The government cited a surge in international oil prices and raised the prices of diesel and petrol by Rs.5 per litre each on Wednesday. According to media reports, the price of kerosine rose by Rs.5.46 whereas light diesel oil became costlier by Rs.5.92 a litre. These prices would be enforced till the end of September.

Saniya Rashid is the research editor at Minute Mirror. She holds a Master's in Journalism degree from Ryerson University, Canada and a BA (Hons) in History, South Asian and Contemporary Asian Studies from the University of Toronto. She has a keen interest in connecting the past to the present by conceptualizing current affairs through a theoretical lens from a variety of socio-cultural disciplines. To that end, she is most interested in unearthing subaltern narratives and is committed to shifting the way minorities and marginalized communities are covered and given a voice in the media. She can be reached at rashidsaniya@gmail.com.