Pakistani Farmers Protest Rising Fuel Prices

Farmers in Pakistan are holding sit-in protests in Lahore against a massive increase in petroleum prices. Protesters say the price-hike

Pakistani farmers protest rising fuel prices after they reached all time highs last week.

Pakistani farmers protest rising fuel prices after they reached all time highs last week. Photo: newsclick

Farmers in Pakistan are holding sit-in protests in Lahore against a massive increase in petroleum prices.

Protesters say the price-hike will financially squeeze middle- and working-class farmers who are already suffering from fertilizer shortages. In the Parliament, coalition partners and opposition alike criticized the decision to raise prices taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).

Despite allegations of corruption, the PTI claims that it was forced to raise oil prices because a demand shock caused the going global rate to reach nearly $100 per barrel , a first since 2014. The PTI claims subsidizing oil prices would force more loans and deal crushing blows to the national debts.

If the raised price remains, Pakistan is likely to experience massive price hikes driven by double-digit inflation. In the long term, economic instability could sow the seeds for extremist recruitment in the midst of a politically fractured state. However, a more likely scenario is that protests continue in the short-term while a desperate Islamabad turns to Beijing. China would be inclined to offer loans as it seeks to deepen its influence in Pakistan in tandem with the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, vested in which are lucrative development projects.

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