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partial strike of petrol pumps creates oil shortage, long queues of motorists

Petrol dealers association said the ongoing strike will continue till the govt increases their profit margin

ISLAMABAD: Partial countrywide strike of petrol pumps in Pakistan today has created shortage of fuel oil and long queues of motorists are being seen at pumps selling oil.

Almost all petrol pumps of Pakistan State Oil are operational in the country while most of other oil companies have started strike from today (Nov 25) and not selling fuel oil to consumers.

Long queues, brawls and traffic jams were witnessed at petrol pump stations across Pakistan Thursday morning as the strike announced by petroleum dealers triggered panic buying. 

The Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) announced strike from today (Thursday) for an indefinite period to demand an increase in the margin on the sale of petroleum products. 

“Petrol pumps across the country will remain closed today,” said the Petroleum Dealers Association secretary. “The government did not accept our demands. Till the government does not increase the dealers’ margin to 6%, we will not negotiate with them,” he added. He alleged that the government had provided assurances of fulfilling dealers’ demands but so far, had not spoken to them.

In Islamabad and Rawalpindi most of the petrol pumps were shutdown to mark strike and protest for seek increase in dealers’ margin. On Wednesday, the petrol stock of some stations depleted when a large numbers of motorists rushed to the pumps to have their tanks filled ahead of the strike. 

“People are buying extra fuel and majority of the motorists wanted to fill up the tanks of their vehicles,” said the manager of a Rawalpindi petrol station last night. 

Motorists said that they had waited for over an hour in a queue outside a petrol situation to get petrol. 

“No petrol pump in Islamabad has a line that is less than one kilometre-long,” he had said.

Chaudhry Azam Riaz had tweeted a video from Islamabad’s Constitution Avenue showing a long double queue formed on the main road for a petrol pump located in front of the Foreign Office. 

Scuffles between citizens were also observed during the panic buying of petrol. With patience wearing thin and exhausting fuel at the filling stations, several car owners tried getting ahead of others, instead of waiting in queues, engaging in arguments and brawls. 

By 10pm, several pumps had run out of petrol and diesel, which exacerbated the crisis. Former Khyber Pakhtunkhwa minister Ajmal Khan Wazir said a day earlier that he managed to get petrol after waiting for two hours outside a pump in Islamabad’s F-11.

Karachi 

In Karachi, commuters rushed to the petrol pumps to get their fuel tanks filled in long queues, which disrupted the traffic movement on major arteries of Karachi.  

Citizens were worried Thursday morning over not finding petrol at petrol stations across the city. “We searched far and wide for petrol, from Clifton to Liaquatabad, but could not get any,” said one commuter, speaking to Geo News

Another citizen said he had arrived at Liaquatabad from Sohrab Goth to find petrol. However, he had to return empty-handed. “The non-availability of petrol has increased our problems,” he said. 

The few petrol pumps in the city that were open had long queues of cars lined up outside them. 

Peshawar and Quetta  

The petrol dealers association have shuttered petrol pumps across Peshawar as well, saying that the strike will continue till the government fulfils their dealers’ demands. 

Most petroleum stations in Mansehra are also expected to remain close as dealers will go on strike, seeking the same increase in their margin on the sale of petroleum products. 

“We have been demanding an increase in petroleum products’ margin for a long time but now we would go on strike for our rights,” Taimur Khan Swati, the president of the petroleum stations association, had said.

Meanwhile, in Quetta the petrol pumps in most areas of Balochistan’s provincial capital, Quetta, also remained close Thursday due to the strike. 

The strike caused problems for citizens who found it difficult to reach their schools, offices and other places. 

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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