An employee wearing a face shield and mask as a precautionary measure against the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus fills the tank of a car at a petrol station in Islamabad on July 9, 2020. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP)

Social media posts falsely claim Pakistan government hiked petrol prices in March 2021

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Multiple posts on Facebook and Twitter claim the Pakistani government raised petrol and diesel prices on March 1, 2021. The claim is false. In February 2021, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan decided to maintain current petrol and diesel rates despite a recommendation from the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority to increase prices, his advisor said in a tweet on February 28, 2021.

“Petrol, diesel prices increased by six rupees (0.038 US$),” reads the Urdu-language caption on a Facebook post published on February 28, 2021.

The post also features a screenshot of a series of tweets by private TV network Geo news which translate as: “Diesel price increased by 6.82 rupees per litre. Petrol price increased by 6.22 rupees per litre.

“Prices of petroleum prices increased.”

A screenshot taken on March 3, 2021, of the misleading Facebook post

A similar claim was shared here, here and here on Facebook and here, here and here on Twitter.

The claim, however, is false.

Prime Minister Imran Khan’s advisor Shahbaz Gill said in a tweet on February 28, 2021 that the government did not increase the prices of petroleum products despite a recommendation by the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA). 

The Urdu-language tweet, which also includes a screenshot of the OGRA recommendation, translates to English as: “OGRA had suggested increasing petroleum product prices from six to seven rupees. Prime Minister Imran Khan did not approve it. No increase was made in the petroleum products. Despite constant increase of petroleum products in the international market, the Prime Minister did not allow it.”

Below is a screenshot of the price list of petroleum products in Pakistan on the website of Pakistan State Oil company for the month of March 2021, which shows no price increase from the previous month:

A screenshot of the price list of petroleum products in Pakistan on the website of Pakistan State Oil company for the month of March 2021, which shows no price increase from the previous month.

Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued notices to television networks who broadcast misleading reports claiming that the government had increased petroleum product prices from March 1, 2020.

Below is a tweet by PEMRA in English and Urdu to various television networks accusing them of “airing false news regarding increase in prices of petroleum products”.