ISLAMABAD : Minister for Energy Omar Ayub justified on Saturday the recent hike in Pakistan petrol prices, saying they were the least in the Asia. Omar Ayub has said that in the global market, petrol prices rose sharply by 112%, while the government has given relief to the public by only raising its price by 25%. “Still [we] have not fully increased the prices and gave a margin of Rs17,” Ayub said. Addressing a joint press conference with Special Assistant for Petroleum Nadeem Babar in the federal capital following the directive of the Prime Minister, the Federal Minister for Petroleum said that prices in Pakistan are the lowest in Asia. He contrasted his government’s performance with PML-N’s tenure, where prices of petroleum products increased by 31% in a single month. The Minister said that the prices of petrol and diesel in Pakistan are still relatively low, as Imran Khan’s first priority is securing the interests of the public. He said that on the PM’s direction, the duration for revising petrol prices has now been set at 35 days. He maintained that the petrol prices in the country are still the lowest in the Sub-continent by a wide margin. The minister said that the government is committed to provide relief to the public, therefore, it has not increased the prices according to international trends. He vowed unwavering fight against ‘mafias’ to pass on relief to the public according to the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). Compared to that, PML-N, during the period of June, July and August, increased prices by 31% even though fuel prices did not rise in the international market. Omar Ayub said contrary to the previous government, every possible legal action will be taken against the beneficiaries of oil shortage in the country. He accused PML-N of protecting petrol mafia, adding that former finance minister had stopped an inquiry against the mafia by using his political influence in 2015. Special Petroleum Assistant Nadeem Babar said that before February 28, the price of petrol was Rs116.60. In May, PSO bought petrol at USD 21 a barrel, but in June, that rose to USD 44. The Petroleum Adviser said that the current price of petrol in India is Rs180 per liter, Rs137 in China, Rs174 in Bangladesh, Rs108 in Indonesia and Rs196 in Japan. Babar said the prime minister directed the authorities not to increase the prices much. “If someone thinks we knelt down before the mafia then they are wrong,” he said. Earlier, Omar Ayub Khan has told the National Assembly that petrol prices are still lower in Pakistan as compared to global market. Omar Ayub said petrol prices are higher in Bangladesh, India and other countries of the region than Pakistan even after the price revision. The minister further said that prices of petroleum products are determined keeping in view the international market and price of petrol in the market has increased by 112%. He said that in January price of petrol was Rs116.70, so petrol is still Rs17 cheaper than January. Omar Ayub further said that government has improved power transmission system which now has capacity of more than 26,000 MW. Information Minister Shibli Faraz has said the prices of petroleum products have been reviewed due to surge in international oil prices. In a tweet on Saturday, he said welfare of the people is the priority of government and efforts will be continued to provide them the relief. The Minister, however, said the increase made in Pakistan is less than when compared with other regional countries. Earlier on June 26, government decided to revise the existing prices of petroleum products in view of the rising oil prices trend in the global market. The price of petrol was increased by Rs25.58 to Rs100.10 per litre, while price of High Speed Diesel (HSD) increased by Rs21.13 to Rs101.46 per litre. On the other hand, the price of Light Diesel Oil (LDO) increased by Rs17.84 to Rs55.98 per litre and the price of Superior Kerosene Oil (SKO), has been increased by Rs23.50 to Rs59.06 per litre. Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on social networking site Twitter that he just heard the press conference of the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) brave leaders who could defend Corruption, Panama, money laundering, fake medical reports but we are not being able to defend 25 rupees hike in petroleum products. On the other hand, Dr Shahbaz Gill, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan for Political Communication, said that it was unfortunate to give political angle to the increase in prices of petroleum products. Dr. Shahbaz Gill said that the prices of petroleum products are fixed according to the international market, the prices of petroleum products are still the lowest in the Pakistan as compare to the other countries in the region. The price of petrol was 180 rupees in India, 196 rupees in Japan, 174 rupees in Bangladesh and 138 rupees in China, he said. He said that the government had taken a difficult decision at a difficult time which was necessary for the country s economy. Imran Khan s government does not want to impose additional burden on the people of this country.