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KARACHI: Like other parts of the country, a panic like situation gripped Karachi as citizens searched far and wide for fuel after petrol stations, except those owned and operated by some major oil marketing companies, remained closed on Friday, following a nation-wide strike announced by Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) over the government’s ‘failure’ to increase the dealers’ profit margin.

Traffic remained thin on roads. Although, some outlets owned and operated by major OMCs including PSO and Shell, Gas and Oil Pakistan Ltd (GO), Hascol Petroleum Ltd, etc., remained open and continue to function normally, but they could not mitigate the fuelling needs of motorists who faced severe hardships in long queues at such outlets to get their vehicles’ tanks filled.

Drivers of auto rickshaws and taxis were seen refusing to give services to their customers due to shortage of fuel in the city, and some were charging heavily on customers, citing the current petrol crisis.

Chairman PPDA Abdul Sami Khan told Business Recorder that the strike remained successful and would continue as long as the government does not honour its commitment to increase the margins of the dealers. He said government has not yet resolved our grievances. When asked about negotiations with the government to resolve the issue, he said: “I am not in a position to say anything about this, for the time being.”

He said except some 20 fuel stations owned and operated by a couple of OMCs, the rest of 480 plus fuel stations of Karachi alone remained closed on Thursday.

On the other hand, the Federal Energy Minister Hammad Azhar took to twitter as saying: “Most of the PSO pumps are open now, and more will be open by evening. Large companies-operated pumps are also open. We are in touch with the Petroleum Dealers Association. A summary of their legitimate demands, which may not impose a heavy price burden on the public, has already been submitted to the ECC for decision,”

All Pakistan Oil Tanker Owners’ Association (APOTOA) Chairman Mir Shams Shahwani told Business Recorder that out of the total 31 companies, only three including PSO, Shell and Total Parco are supplying them fuel, presently. He said his association has transported some 6,000, and 3000 fuel tankers across four provinces and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively from Karachi. “We will dispatch 5,000 more oil carriers to various cities on Friday,” Shams said, adding APTOA has distanced itself from the strike of PPDA.

Abdul Sami Khan, while addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC) the other day, had said that PPDA had demanded six percent margin for the dealer from present 2.5 percent. The PPDA had announced to go on strike on November 05, 2021, as well. He pointed out that the federal government had invited the dealers association to come to Islamabad. In the said meeting the matter was discussed in details and the government authorities agreed to margin of the dealers, but to no avail.

Pakistan State Oil PSO and Shell, Gas & Oil Pakistan Ltd, Hascol Petroleum Ltd had earlier announced they would remain open throughout the country as they are not part of the Pakistan Petroleum Dealers Association (PPDA) strike.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021s

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