LAHORE: Artificial shortage of petrol caused to combat political crisis worsened in the city on Saturday, causing serious problems to public and private transport besides promoting sale of petrol in black market and also forcing citizens to buy food items, including vegetables, fruits and other commodities, at exorbitant prices due to suspension of supply line in the wake of closure of roads from nearby cities and town to the provincial metropolis.
The city braved acute shortage of fuel on the second consecutive day and citizens, including women, spent hours while remaining queued up outside filling stations. Abrupt closure of CNG stations on Thursday was merely a tip of the iceberg.
Rush at a few petrol pumps that survived the abrupt closure increased manifold on Friday night and long queues of fuel-seekers were seen. Some motorists, who ran short of fuel and had to abandon their vehicles, rushed to filling stations to get fuel in bottles and canisters.
Many people preferred staying at home due to artificial shortage. Probably, the crisis was caused only to achieve this goal. Due to closure of roads, petrol supply also dried up and the few petrol pumps that were still open stopped the sale.
Because of traffic woes caused by road blockades and supplemented by artificial petrol shortage, attendance remained low at most of the private sector and public offices where Saturday is a working day. To a question regarding acute shortage of petrol in the city, Law Minister Rana Mashood Ahmed, while addressing a press conference at the Chief Minister’s House on Saturday, said that the Petroleum Ministry had assured its all-out support and that petrol supply would smoothly resume in the city during the next few hours.
District Coordination Officer Caption (r) Usman also said on Saturday afternoon that all of the closed petrol pumps of Lahore would be opened during the next four hours.
The daily-life activities in the city have almost come to a grinding halt because of multiplying crises of energy shortage, road blockades, petrol unavailability and inflation.
The profiteers, who have already fleeced citizens during Ramazan, have gotten another chance to exploit the political crisis that has suspended supply of food items, especially vegetables, milk and meat, to the city from nearby towns. As all entry/exit points of the city are closed, citizens are facing innumerable yet inconceivable social tragedies.
A groom along with his wedding procession (barat) could not enter the city and was forced to return while the bride’s family and their relatives had to face social humiliation. They only cursed the rulers for sealing the city to further their political motives.
As a large number of patients are also referred from nearby districts to sophisticated public and private health centres in the provincial capital in routine, one could only imagine how many ambulances were caught in snarl-ups due to closure of roads by placing shipping containers and how many patients could not be provided medical aid because the ambulance that was carrying them to the nearby hospital ran short of fuel – only as a result of man-made crisis in the name of politics.
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