Petrol shortages: Please don’t blame the government…

It is typical of our people to cry ‘Bloody Murder’ at the slightest inconvenience and bad mouth our government.

Sakina Hassan April 10, 2015
After a long and relatively blissful slump in the price of petrol, it was increased by Rs4 in the beginning of the month of April, much to the dismay of the public. This is the beginning of the end of long drives and unnecessary trips to anywhere.

The reasons cited are as varied as the different kinds of Shan Biryani Masalas you get in the market (I am not getting paid for this, it only counts towards ‘interest in the kitchen’ points with my mom). They range from ‘rising oil prices worldwide’ to an ‘intricate Saudi conspiracy that will alter the very fabric of time and space.’ We can only hope and pray that whatever machinations are being orchestrated, they do not result in the ‘Great Petrol Shortage of 15’. I am surprised people have already forgotten the happy times.

Do you remember the shortage of petrol in Lahore, Faisalabad and other major cities of Punjab for a few days back in January?  While it is typical of the people of this country to cry ‘Bloody Murder’ at the slightest inconvenience, I was a bit annoyed with all the negative publicity our democratically elected government was getting at the time.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with spending a couple of days in long lines at petrol pumps. Orderly queuing for long hours builds character. It is what the British Empire was built on. All these long straight queues in a country which is famed for having barely any civic sense was a thing of beauty, and the bonds formed between people spending time together in these queues, swearing away at each other, are virtually unbreakable. Ask any psychologist.

And how dare anyone say that nothing had been done? Holidays had been curtailed, people had been suspended, what more did the ignorant and unwashed masses want? Since the media did such a bad job of defending our public ministers, I feel that I must clear a few misconceptions while we are on the subject of fuel.

Firstly, it is absolutely ridiculous the way everyone immediately begins to malign the minister for petroleum. What has he got to do with any of this? That is ‘awami jahalat’ for you. He is the Minister for Petroleum Jelly and related products, people. Is there a cold cream shortage? Is the issue dry skin?

Of course not. Then why must a ‘shareef admis’ name be dragged through the mud every time petrol is mentioned? To shame him?

Secondly, for those who think the government lacks foresight, it is common knowledge that the entire world’s crude oil comes from Saudi Arabia. At the time of the shortage our sage prime minister saw the crisis coming; he packed his bags and flew immediately to the source to sort out all our fuel problems once and for all.

He also took the time from some serious royal, diesel-related negotiations to visit not only Makkah but Medina as well, performing the entire journey on foot while fasting, and there were pictures circulating on social media to prove it.

Even now, a measly Rs4 increase has delegations flying back and forth between Sharif Sahab and his sugar daddy in Riyadh, trying to stem this sudden burst of inflation before it is too late.

It’s not Yemen, guys. It is the thought of the ‘awam’ that has resulted in all this roadrunner activity in the political circles which are expected to move at a glacial pace.

I have also heard from a well-placed source deep in the chief minister’s posse, that to elevate the suffering of the people and to reduce the ‘demand’ in the whole ‘supply and demand equation’, the government will now make available for lease all the members of the many thousands of committees on the ‘sarkari’ payroll in teams of four and six to pull all of our cars until the price is back to normal.

Yes, important issues might no longer be brushed under the carpet, but in these difficult times sacrifices must be made. And that is how salaries are earned people. All we have to do is get off our lazy behinds, buy a whip and learn to yell ‘Mush’ at periodic intervals.

It all boils down to economics. And other things that we know absolutely nothing about. And there is no point in asking an economist, ask a lawyer. Lawyers, as demonstrated by our talk shows, know everything. They will give you the low down on petrol prices, foreign policy, city planning, gender studies, Yemen, pizza. You name it, they can yak about it. Not to mention the fact that they have had a great deal of practice yelling at exactly the right volume to allow crucial information to imprint itself on the memory of people of average intelligence (that is you and me).

In fact if a person tries to tell you something in normal tones and especially if they try to support their arguments with logic and rationale, do not listen to them. They are crazy.

Pakistan will continue to float serenely as long as we only continue to get worked up about the less important things and ignore important issues like fuel. During the shortage, when people got worked up about work, school or university, I would tell them to relax and continue enjoying the extended holidays courtesy of things that are completely out of the government’s control.

Need an ambulance? How dare they think about dying at this time? That’s right Karachi! Did you think you’re only city with ‘problems?’ Lahore is twice the city you are! And after an upcoming, expensive and entirely secret beautification project we will also have our own beach!

How’d you like that?
Sakina Hassan The author is currently studying for an Mphil degree at the Centre of Excellence in Solid State Physics.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Maximus Decimus Meridius | 6 years ago | Reply you had me in stiches at "sugar daddy in Riyadh". Now the people reading these blogs are kinda refined so let me just copy paste something from the urban dictionary to put this into perspective. Sugar Daddy: A man who provides money or other favors in exchange for sexual relations.
Fareed Khan Afridi. | 6 years ago | Reply These are very very funny articles by Ms. Hassan. Look forward to them eagerly. Looks like the start of a Pakistani Comedienne of the first caliber. A Satirist too!
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