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Unending crises

There seems no end to the sufferings of citizens as the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has literally failed to deal with recurrent crises faced by the general public. Lately, a tug of war over the rate of profit margin between the All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association and Petroleum Ministry has resulted in a nationwide strike and closure of fuel stations for an indefinite period. A severe shortage of fuel has crippled the routine life across the country. Several cities in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been in the grip of petrol crisis that has exacerbated due to a lack of coordination between the Ministry of Petroleum and petrol dealers. Due to the mismanagement by the concerned ministry, the government has been facing citizens’ wrath. In different cities, long queues of motorists and passengers were seen at petrol pumps, who were furious over non-availability of fuel and were cursing the government.

Who is to be blamed for the present crisis? Check how Energy Minister Hammad Azhar dealt with the crisis, who has absolved himself by just tweeting that “we are in touch with petroleum dealers association. A summary regarding revision of their margins has already been tabled in the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and a decision will be taken in its next session”. All this is fine, but failure to pin the blame on those actually responsible or negligent is the missing step if the crisis is to be controlled. Unfortunately, the principle that the buck stops at the top has gone abegging in Pakistan generally, and in this case in particular.

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Other than these developments, PSO claims an easing of the critical petrol shortage but the situation on the ground in the shape of the still winding long queues before filling stations erodes the credibility of the claim. The crisis has badly exposed the failings of this government as ministers have shirked responsibility. The government needs to wake up to resolve the petrol crisis that can lead to massive protests across the country. The government should appoint a competent person to the post of minister for Petroleum, who can foresee unwanted scenarios and take necessary measures to ward off such crises.

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