Pakistan News

Petrol dealers to observe strike, keep fuel stations closed from tomorrow

Petrol dealers to observe strike, keep fuel stations closed from tomorrow

The All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association has announced a nationwide strike and closure of fuel stations starting tomorrow (Thursday) over the government's failure to increase the dealers' profit margin.

According to a press release issued by the association on Wednesday, a meeting of petrol dealers was held at Faletti's Hotel in Lahore on Saturday, where All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association Information Secretary Khwaja Atif had noted that the government had promised to raise the dealers' profit margin three years ago.

"The promise remains unfulfilled to date ... [and] now, because of [growing] inflation and increase in the prices of petroleum products, it has become difficult for dealers to run fuel stations," the press release read.

It added that the dealers had previously given the call for a strike from November 5 but had withdrawn it after after a government team, led by Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar, held a meeting with them on November 3 and agreed to fulfil their demands.

According to a Dawn report, the meeting had also constituted a committee led by Petroleum Secretary Dr Arshad Mahmood and comprising stakeholders to ensure the implementation of the agreement for the increase in margins through approval from the Economic Coordination Committee and the federal cabinet by November 15.

In that meeting, the press release said, "the government had agreed to raise the profit margin by six per cent and sought time till November 17 to implement the decision".

"Dealers continued the supply of petroleum products in public interest, but five days have passed since the agreed date of November 17 and the government representatives don't seem serious."

Meanwhile, head of the All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association's Bahawalpur chapter, Muhammad Yaseen, also issued a statement, confirming that all fuel stations would be closed from 6am tomorrow.

He said no vehicles except ambulances and Rescue 1122 vehicles would be supplied fuel during the strike.

Terming the strike a "battle for our survival", he said the government had not taken any significant measures so far to meet the petrol dealers' demands and neither had it given them any "output" in this regard.

"Hence, it is now imperative that we close our businesses," he said. At this time, he added, petrol dealers across Pakistan were in agreement that their profit margin needed to be raised as it had become difficult to run fuel stations, given the increase in expenses.

He urged dealers to put up fences around fuel stations, stop procuring petroleum products and not to supply fuel to any person through any backdoor means. He added that teams would be constituted in Bahawalpur to monitor the strike.

Earlier, All Pakistan Petrol Pumps Dealers Association Information Secretary Nauman Ali Butt had confirmed the call for the strike.

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