Petrol station, Petrol pump, fuel station
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Islamabad: In a move aimed at easing the burden of high fuel prices on the poor, the Pakistan government will charge an extra amount from the wealthy to provide a fuel subsidy of Rs100 to low-income families.

“We will make petrol cheaper for the poor and will make it expensive for the rich. Those who can afford expensive cars will pay more for petrol and that money will be used to reduce fuel costs for poor people,” Minister of State for Petroleum Musadik Malik said on Monday.

The government announced the plan to provide relief to the poor people who are most affected by the rising cost of living without putting extra pressure on the dollar-starved economy.

The programme to make petrol more expensive for the rich and cheaper for the poor will be implemented within the next six weeks, the minister said.

Malik said that a similar mechanism had been implemented in the gas tariffs as well, under which the bills for the poor were reduced as compared to the bills of the affluent households. The minister described this as a move to reduce the widening gap between rich and poor in the country of more than 220 million.

The decision to have separate fuel prices for rich and poor was made at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif who said that the consumers who own small vehicles including motorcycles, rickshaws, and 800 CC vehicles will benefit from the petroleum subsidy programme.

The new policy has been met with mixed reactions with some praising the measures to address income inequality, while others criticise the move as being “punitive towards the wealthy” as the policy lacks clarity in defining “who falls under the category of rich and poor.”