Pakistan hikes petrol and diesel prices, big revision likely to hurt motorists
In case you are cribbing about rising petrol and diesel prices in India, spare a thought for neighbouring Pakistan. The new Shehbaz Sharif-led government has decided to implement a massive hike in petrol and diesel prices in the country starting from today. The hike is by as much as PKR 30 per litre (approximately ₹11.50) on petrol and diesel, which has propelled the rates to nearly PKR 180 per litre (approximately ₹69). The petrol and diesel price hike, which is an attempt to resume getting funds from the International Monetary Fund or IMF, has been effective since midnight.
From today, a litre of petrol in Pakistan will cost PKR 179.85 per litre. Price of diesel has also gone up to PKR 174.15 (approximately ₹67) after the 20 percent hike. Besides petrol and diesel, the price of kerosene and light diesel has also been hiked to PKR 155.95 and PKR 148.41 (approximately ₹60 and ₹57) respectively.
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The fuel price hike resulted in long queues outside petrol pumps in Pakistan in a rush to fill up tanks at old rates. Former Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Hafeez reacted to the development claiming that the petrol pumps in the country had run out of fuel due to the rush.
The fuel price hike was necessitated to keep a deal between Pakistan and IMF alive. According to reports, the two sides have reached an understanding where IMF will release more than $900 million fund to Pakistan which is facing cash crunch and economic slide. According to a source quoted by news agency Reuters, “When we raise fuel prices, the deal will be done. We have worked out the outlines of a deal." Earlier in February, former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan had capped petrol and diesel prices till June this year. His decision came despite an agreement with IMF to raise the prices.
The petrol and diesel price in Pakistan is now nearly double of what consumers in India pay. Recently, the Centre reduced tax on petrol and diesel which led to a drop in petrol and diesel prices. Both price have now gone down below ₹100 mark in several cities. In Delhi, petrol price is currently at ₹96.72 a litre and diesel costs ₹89.62 a litre.
Recently, Pakistan has also put a complete ban on imported cars. The ban, which was announced on Thursday, extends to all non-essential items including imported vehicles and other things like mobile phones, home appliances and weapons. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif announced his decision saying it will help Pakistan to save 'precious foreign exchange'.