Powerful Profit, Common Cost: The Tale of Inequality

Many consumers termed the recent petroleum increase as an ‘inflation bomb’ and criticized the government. There is no denying that in such a situation, common man pays the price while the powerful make the fortune.

Restaurants, hotels associations reject oil prices hike 

Workers with professional and academic backgrounds often need to take up additional employment to make ends meet. Occasionally, people only eat twice a day instead of the recommended three. Those with more disposable income have abandoned vehicles in favor of motorcycles. In order to supplement their income, several company owners have started driving for ride-hailing services.

While this may remind you of the Great Depression, it really describes the current situation in Pakistan. After talking to a wide range of individuals in the middle class, almost everyone had been affected by the recent currency shocks and the general economic slowdown.

The value of the rupee has dropped to historic lows against the dollar during the previous several days, and on Sunday, gas prices increased by an unprecedented Rs35. Workers were already struggling with rising prices, but now the floodgates have opened wider.

The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics reports that the Sensitive Price Index for the week ending January 26 rose by 32.57 percent year over year owing to the sharp rise in the cost of all goods and services but mainly vegetables like onions.

The government of the coalition parties is under the most criticism at the moment. In such a situation, when government leader and Federal Minister for Defense Khawaja Asif was questioned, he said that petrol pumps were not being supplied at night or those who closed their petrol pumps in view of the increase in prices. Action should have been taken against.

According to him, the administration should seal such petrol pumps and close the business of these companies and file a case, but such people are powerful.

Khawaja Asif claimed that several banks that he personally knows are involved in the “staging” of dollars and Pakistani rupees. He said that we are indeed in the government, but we should take responsibility for it. The common man pays the price while the powerful make wealth.

Social media users have expressed their displeasure over the non-availability of petrol for citizens across the country until the price of petrol increases. The sudden hike of Rs 35 has further burdened the already inflationary public.

The Tehreek-e-Insaaf government must have been terrible in running the economic system, but the disastrous inflation we are facing now is the fault of the Muslim League-N and will always be. Ishaq Dar and those who put him at the head are equally responsible for this disaster.

At this point, the administration was promising to make some harsh choices in order to negotiate a deal with the IMF and relieve the load on the average citizen. Simultaneously, beneath the nose of the federal government, large lines formed at gasoline stations in the capital city of Islamabad.

Even though February 1 was still two days away, petrol  station owners had already begun creating a “artificial scarcity” of oil since they knew prices would rise anyway. This was revealed by Defense Minister Khawaja Asif.

Islamabad and Rawalpindi were the epicenters of this movement, and the Federal Finance Minister appeared on television before February 1 to announce an increase in the pricing of petroleum items.

As far as the government is concerned, the element of doubt has been removed. In the days after currency exchange firms said they would no longer be manipulating the dollar’s exchange rate, the value of the dollar rose by 14 percent versus the rupee.

Even though experts say measures like increasing gas prices are essential for progress with the IMF, they have raised many concerns about the government’s lack of prompt action.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Coverpage’s editorial stance

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