Crackdown on fuel shortage

I have been reading with interest about the June 2020 fuel shortage. I am simply astonished that in the year 2021, the Government of Pakistan still expects to control prices of critical basic commodities like gasoline and diesel, when the most powerful Governments of the world would not dare.

We are possibly one of the only countries on Earth to ascribe such power to our elected representatives. India, US, UK, Europe, none of them dictate prices at the pump. So why does Pakistan think it right to try and do so?

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This is a communistic, command-economy type of policy typical of the same that brought down the Soviet Union. And aside from the wrong premise that bureaucrats in Islamabad can know and dictate what the best price should be at every petrol station across the country, the policy is doomed to failure, which is evidenced by the very shortage that happened in June 2020.

It seems to be a strange point that the Government of Pakistan has asked for an inquiry as to why petrol companies were not selling fuel at a price that was lower than their cost. They should ask themselves what they are doing wrong that caused the shortage in the first place.

How can a Government try to force businesses, established to make profit, to sell at a loss? This is the key question. Not only is this criminal, it goes against Islam and capitalist economic theory. No Government has the right to force private companies to sell at a loss, period.

Can the Government force someone to rent out their house on a negative rent? Until this question is resolved similar crises will continue to hurt the people and corporate sector of Pakistan.

Rohail Hassan


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