BY ALI NAQVI –
The steep hike in petrol prices turns out to be a silent bomb dropped on Pakistanis as the celebrations of Independence Day commence on 1st August. The increase in petroleum prices also coincide with the time when Muslims all over Pakistan are preparing for Eidul Azha.
With Rs. 5.15 increase the petrol price has hit the record breaking figure. Proposed by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) the petrol price has now jumped from Rs. 112.6 to Rs. 117.8. The dollar rate is already at its highest surge. Every time petrol prices are increased it becomes a pretense for inflation. There are speculations that the petrol prices are likely to match the dollar price. The way things are one fears that this might also happen.
Our economy’s recent state of affairs does not paint a rosy picture. The IMF factor may give the economy a breathing space but for the common man things are going from bad to worse. But who thinks about the common man? The common man is like an imaginary character who is destined to suffer in silence.
The silent sufferer, the common man, may not be silent forever. There comes a time when things have to change because there is no other way. Take the cycle of monsoon for example. When the sun shines directly on the oceans, the water vapor rises and cools forming colossal clouds that bring torrential rains. The common man is like the steady ocean waiting to give way to the formation of heavy clouds that eventually burst open and change an entire landscape.
The change comes when the rulers least expect it to happen. The common man that appears to be proverbial or fictional who comes in every national, economic and political debate will eventually take shape and become a reality looking straight in the face of political dictatorship of the day. If you did not get the point look up Newton’s third law of motion.
Unfortunately, our entire popular political history is a treatise on ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. Political parties play around these apparently harmless words whether they are in opposition or government. If you are incompetent, it’s all because of the ‘previous government’ but if you are exceptionally incompetent all previous governments are worth blaming for all the ills in the country.
The current hike in petrol prices will trigger a wave of inflation. It will strongly demark the boundaries between the rich and the poor and the middle class will evaporate making way for the inevitable.