Prime Minister Imran Khan has set up a committee of inquiry to investigate the recent petrol crisis with instructions for the committee to complete and submit a report until 10 July.
The Prime Minister has named his Special Assistant to Oversee Marketing and Development of Mineral Resources Shahzad Syed Qasim as the Committee Head, while the other three members include former DG (Oil) Rashid Farooq of the Petroleum Division, Pakistan Petroleum Institute CEO Asim Murtaza and former PSO Senior GM Naazir Abbas Zaidi.
The committee leader has the power to appoint further members to the committee to investigate the recent shortage of fuel.
Importantly, the Prime Minister entrusted the Committee with the task of “identifying and assigning responsibility, if any, to any individual / officer / organization, including any alleged benefit to a private party, in addition to suggesting / recommending a way forward for future action to ensure that this crisis does not persist.”
“The above inquiry shall be completed, and a positive report shall be submitted to the Prime Minister within fortnight (July 10, 2020),” read the notification of June 25. It added that the committee would obtain secretarial assistance from the Petroleum Division.
Thousands of people have been seen queuing up at gas stations around the country earlier this month.
On May 31, Prime Minister Imran tweeted that Pakistan had South Asia’s lowest fuel prices, saying: “We have further reduced petrol, light diesel oil, kerosene oil rates. Now, we have the cheapest cost of fuel compared with other South Asian states.
Nonetheless, petrol was not available until the government decided to increase the price of petrol by Rs25.58 per liter for the month of July and said it was consistent with the rise in global crude oil prices. The inquiry report, as per the notification, should, inter alia, describe the causes and effect of price decrease in the month of June on import and availability of petrol.
The Premier has directed the committee to find out about hoarding by the Oil Marketing Companies, including curtailing the supply from depots to retail outlets and, if any, hoarding by gas stations.
After the massive rise in petroleum prices, the opposition parties strongly criticized the government, saying the government dropped a “petrol bomb” on the masses that had already suffered from Covid-19, unemployment and inflation. However, the government defended the rise, saying it was in line with the rise in international oil prices.