POL dealers’ strike call

KARACHI: The rage, embedding among the citizens of the metropolis over record-high inflation, erupted on Monday in the shape of violent protests after the petroleum dealers gave a strike call.The protests over the petroleum dealers’ strike call to increase their commission were so intense that police and Rangers resorted to baton-charge. However, no major injuries were reported as none were shifted to any hospital.According to details, motorists faced hardships in refueling their tanks throughout the day as most of the filling stations in the provincial capital refused to sell gasoline to force the government to restore their commission margin.Office-goers, students, patients, labor, etc faced a lot of difficulties in reaching their destinations during the day as fuel stations across the city were seen closed and their premises covered by tents since Monday morning at 6am.Long queues of vehicles were witnessed at various petrol pumps on Monday as filling stations in the city had shut off their dispensers on the said pretext. Non-availability of petrol infuriated the Karachiites, who staged sit-ins at all main arteries of the city, which caused gridlocks at Shahrah-e-Pakistan, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Abul Hassan Isphahani Road, Golimar, Dalmia, Drigh Road, etc.Violent clashes were also witnessed at several petrol pumps located at Ayesha Manzil, Federal B Area, Falak Naz Arcade, Shahrah-e-Faisal and Nazimabad where police resorted to baton-charge and tear gas to disperse the protesters. The charged protesters castigated the owners of filling stations for creating an artificial shortage just to earn more profits after swirling of the news on the hike of gasoline prices.

“Whenever petroleum prices are increased, the petrol pump owners do not take time to revise the rates upward and when the rates are decreased, they adopt a different strategy and become deaf,” several angered motorists said. They said the pumps have stopped selling the commodity to force consumers to buy fuel at a much higher rate. They said the station owners seemed to be strong enough than law enforcers, which is why they apply tactics on the eve of increase in oil prices and urged all concerned authorities to take stern measures against them to facilitate consumers at the maximum level.Later, Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association Chairman Abdul Sami Khan announced to call off the strike after the assurance given by the Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) delegation led by Sindh Health Minister Dr Sagheer Ahmad to discuss the said issue with the concerned authorities.

Sami while talking to media at a press conference said although the Karachiites were facing immense difficulties during the whole day, nobody from the government has so far approached the representatives of the association to resolve the issue. He said the MQM has assured the petroleum dealers to table their petroleum dealers’ issue before the concerned authorities due to which the association has decided to call off its strike.Police officials, who dispersed the protesters said it looked like the citizens were inspired by the revolutionary struggles going on in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – Dailytimes