Former wife of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan has taken a dig at him, calling him “selected” — a term used by the opposition to raise objections over Imran’s rise to power –, while highlighting the persisting petrol shortage at a time when “the entire world is running out of storage space for the same”.
“History will remember the selected person in Pakistan who created a shortage of petrol at a time when the world was running out of places to store it,” she tweeted.
The tweet came as a shortage of petrol and diesel at most fuel stations across the country reportedly due to the limited supply of petroleum products added to the miseries of people amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The scarcity of petrol across the country turned severe last week, as most petrol pumps remained closed in Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta. Long queues could be seen on those stations that were open.
Sameer Najmul Hassan, chairman of All Pakistan Petroleum Retailers Association (APPRA), in a statement, said oil companies will likely run out of their oil stocks in the next three days. They have been left with the stock hardly enough to last out more than three days, he added.
He said a new quota of petroleum products is not being purchased due to a consistent decrease in the oil companies’ quota. No company other than the Pakistan State Oil (PSO) is purchasing oil at present, the APPRA chairman said.
“The situation seems to be going from bad to worse until Sunday,” he warned. He said 15 oil marketing companies in total, including the PSO, purchase oil in the country.
It is pertinent to note that in an unprecedented move, Pakistan, which imports 70 per cent of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia and the remaining from the United Arab Emirates (US), had in April canceled import of gasoline, diesel and crude oil to support the domestic refining industry as energy demand sharply declined amid countrywide lockdowns.
The decision to halt the import of petroleum products had followed country’s economic meltdown resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. In a letter to the Oil Companies Advisory Council (OCAC), the Energy Ministry had said that the consumption of motor gasoline had dropped significantly due to lockdown by provincial governments to control the spread of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, the globally plunging demand for oil brought by the coronavirus pandemic combined with a savage price war had left the fossil fuel industry broken and in survival mode, according to analysts. It faced the gravest challenge in its 100-year history, they said, one that will permanently alter the industry.
While the first few months into the pandemic saw price wars between oil giants as demand plunged, things are getting better as lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased.