PM rules out petroleum price cut: Rs15bn loss to be recovered

PM rules out petroleum price cut: Rs15bn loss to be recovered

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has ruled out any reduction in the prices of petroleum products in the country in near future.

The prices would not be reduced unless an amount of Rs15 billion given as subsidy at a time when the prices in the international market were high was recovered, he said while talking to newsmen after inaugurating a conference of the All India Muslim League here on Monday.

He said since the prices in the international market were fluctuating, he could not guarantee any decrease in prices in the country.

He, however, said that the benefit of any reduction would be shifted to the common man when the amount incurred on the subsidy was realised.

When his comments were sought on a recent statement of the Foreign Office spokeswoman which triggered a nation-wide debate whether or not Kashmir is a part of Pakistan, he said Kashmir was a disputed territory which was shown as such on the map of Pakistan.

”The Kashmir issue needs to be resolved with the consent of all three parties — Pakistan, India and the people of Kashmir,” said Mr Aziz said, adding that the opinion of the Kashmiris must be accommodated in any talks for conflict resolution.

Stressing that the people of Pakistan and Kashmir have the same blood, he said the Kashmir dispute should be resolved amicably through dialogue.

He said the Indian prime minister’s positive response to President Musharraf’s proposals was a good omen.

He was non-committal when asked why the ruling Pakistan Muslim League did not advise President General Pervez Musharraf to quit as army chief and test his popularity in the elections without uniform when he has been declared the most popular leader of Pakistan in a recent IRI survey.

Instead, he said there was no link between surveys and the uniform.

On non-payment of the Rs22 billion worth of first instalment of NWFP’s net hydel profits, the prime minister advised the provincial government to refrain from issuing emotional statements and wait for some time.

Being the guarantor, the federal government would intervene after Wapda had completed its conversations with the NWFP government, he added.

Replying to a question on the possibility of an alliance with the PPP for the forthcoming elections, he said talks with political parties were a continuous process, but the PML would contest elections with the support of its existing allies.

Meanwhile, on the issue of Kashmir, the BBC Urdu Online quoted the prime minister as saying that Pakistan never considered Kashmir as its own territory.

”Kashmir is a dispute territory and is shown as such on the map of Pakistan,” he said.

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