ISLAMABAD: State Minister for Petroleum Dr. Musadik Malik dismissed reports of fuel shortage in Pakistan on Tuesday, saying the government was complying with the regulatory requirement of maintaining a substantial quantity of petrol and diesel in the country.
Malik issued the rebuttal during a conversation with a local news outlet amid reports that commuters were facing problems in the country’s most populous Punjab province where several petrol pumps had temporarily suspended their service.
“We held a meeting with the oil marketing companies in the morning,” he told Geo News. “Currently, the country has the stock of more than 20 days of petrol and more than 25 days of diesel.”
The minister asked the media to intimate the government about any artificial shortage created by owners of petrol pumps in any part of the country, saying action would be taken against such elements.
“In certain regions, there is a danger that people are hoarding since they believe that petrol prices are being increased on an international level,” he continued. “But we have got administrative measures that can be used to deal with such situations.”
Malik categorically denied that the country’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had anything to do with the prices of petroleum in the country.
He maintained the subject was not being discussed between the two sides, adding any fluctuation in fuel prices was due to the volatility in international market.
Pakistan is facing a major dollar liquidity crunch which has led the government to unofficially suspend import of various items, including essential goods, to save its foreign currency reserves that have hit an alarming level of $3 billion.
Under the circumstances, a nationwide power outage last month also led to speculations about fuel shortage in the country for power generation, though senior government officials denied the claim.